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Dan Bolger
Thu, Dec 14, 2017, 7:46am (UTC -6)
Re: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

I thought rogue one was an excellent addition to the star wars canon. An original and interesting story that seamlessly segues into a new hope. Not much I disliked in the film at all, an interesting premise for a side story and an excellently utilized exhibition of darth vader, particularly in the last few minutes. I slightly preferred it to the force awakens. Good performances throughout, generally, and only a bit slight for the lack of a cogent film score theme. Great fun throughout the film.
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Tue, Dec 12, 2017, 6:18pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S4: These Are the Voyages...

I'd really thought Terra Prime was the last episode, as I'd been watching on Netflix, and the next episode teaser showed Riker, so I assumed it was suggesting I watch TNG next. When I realised my error I watched unawares of the hullabaloo that surrounded it. It was an interesting idea, and had some good scenes, but it short changed everyone as a finale. Such a shame. Having persisted with it and followed Jammer and all the comments, I would have liked to have seen its improving quality continue. Oh well. DS9 next.
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Peter G.
Mon, Dec 11, 2017, 4:42pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

@ SlackerInc,

No need to argue the episode with me, as I have no right to make claims about its content. My point was more about MacFarlane that about the specifics of the episode anyhow. I stuck my nose in anyhow just because what I read was disquieting as part of a would-be Trek series so I waned to comment on that aspect of it.

If you live in a religious area then from your perspective I can see how the anti-religious view would be a minority position in your daily life. But it's certainly prevalent enough in TV and film (to say nothing of certain geographical areas) that I don't see how a skewering of religion could be seen as 'refreshing.' When Voltaire wrote Candide it was refreshing. At this point it's almost a cliche. That doesn't take away from your right to enjoy such a message, but MacFarlane is hardly taking some kind of chance portraying religion as being ridiculous; on the contrary, he's merely repeating the chorus of his main audience, reaching for low-hanging fruit. In fact, for someone like him to praise religion in any sense would be the risky move as many who like his kind of work would go apes**t if they heard anything other than what they expect.
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Peter G.
Mon, Dec 11, 2017, 12:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

@ SlackerInc,

"Personally, I find it refreshing that some atheists/secularists like MacFarlane are willing to dispense with all those niceties and just speak forthrightly."

Refreshing? Have you been living under a rock for 15 years? Or maybe you're from Utah and don't see anti-religious sentiment very often around your parts.

"I find it interesting that all the people getting offended here seem not to acknowledge that (as Riker pointed out) the “pope” was actually portrayed as a man of integrity!"

Again, I haven't seen the episode, but if your definition of "integrity" is that he acknowledged that his religion was a bunch of nonsense then that's a very self-serving definition. A Catholic could just as soon turn around and say that in order to demonstrate integrity you'd have to admit that atheism is a bunch of nonsense. It ought to go both ways, right?

There seems to be some kind of weird premise a lot of Trek fans have that Roddenberry's vision of the future is anti-religious and that enlightened humans are too smart for such superstition. Nothing could be further from the truth, and doing a good viewing of TOS followed by TNG would demonstrate over and over that this isn't the case. Neither is it the case, mind you, that Roddenberry seemed to care to say much of anything about religion in the other direction, so we could perhaps suggest that the series is agnostic about statements of truth in this arena.

I rewatched TNG's Where Silence Has Lease the other day and came across this gem of a quote from Picard, which should dispel any idea that Trek somehow backs a materialist position in regards to existence:

I have a question, sir.
What is death?

You've picked probably the most
difficult of all questions, Data.

There is the beginning of a twinkle in Picard's eyes
again. It is the sort of question that his mind loves.

Some explain it by inventing
gods wearing their own form...
and argue that the purpose of the
entire universe is to maintain
themselves in their present form
in an Earth-like garden which
will give them pleasure through
all eternity. And at the other
extreme, assuming that is an
"extreme," are those who prefer
the idea of our blinking into
nothingness with all our
experiences, hopes and dreams only
an illusion.

Which do you believe?

Considering the marvelous
complexity of our universe, its
clockwork perfection, its balances
of this against that... matter,
energy, gravitation, time,
dimension, pattern, I believe
our existence must mean more than
a meaningless illusion. I prefer
to believe that my and your
existence goes beyond Euclidian
and other "practical" measuring
systems... and that, in ways
we cannot yet fathom, our
existence is part of a reality
beyond what we understand now
as reality."

This is surely not a statement definitively describing a creator, and yet at the same time it calls into question the logic of assuming that a universe so perfectly tuned could be imagined to be merely the random result of a bunch of meaningless stuff. This kind of statement, an acknowledgement of wonder and realizing that what we perceive is certainly not the extent of what there is - this is the heart of Trek. One can disagree until the cows come home about one theory of existence or another, but mockery of a belief system and calling people psychotic for thinking there's something beyond crude matter, well that's what I'd call completely anti-Trek. There's nothing rational about thinking you're so smart that you can slam dunk an entire sphere of inquiry (metaphysics) and call people idiots who think about such things.
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Dan Bolger
Mon, Dec 11, 2017, 9:18am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens

I think that the force awakens is overall an engaging but often pedestrian film, as far as the star wars canon goes. As has been pointed out, it has very much a feel of A New Hope- story similarities, scenes formula, diametrically opposed sides and all. It's certainly polished in all scenes, bright and breezy, much less CGI oriented (which is a blessed relief), generally good acting, funny in places, and an always stellar score by the great john Williams. Rey's theme is a favourite piece. Slightly mediocre happenings of this installment would be the lack of chemistry of the onscreen reunion between Han and Leia, the seemingly effortless genius that Rey exhibits in being an expert at everything the script entails. Piloting the millennium falcon at breakneck speed with effortless aplomb, and despite being force sensitive, and of presumably distinctive bearing, happens to be an expert at wielding a lightsaber against kylo ren. Last few seconds with rey imploringly gazing at a jaded, aged, broken looking luke atop a grand atol on Ach To is effectively grandiose. However, I enjoyed the film, in lieu of seeing the last Jedi.
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Peter G.
Mon, Dec 11, 2017, 12:23am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: In the Pale Moonlight

I'm watching this favorite episode once again and had something click into place for me that I never saw before. Garak is first approached by Sisko to develop a plan to bring the Romulans into the war, and the type of plan Sisko requests is that Garak ask an informant to supply proof of Dominion duplicity. Garak appears to agree to try this plan...but does he really? The next piece of news we hear is that, to the shock of everyone, Betazed has fallen to the Dominion

Three days later Garak reports, with unperturbed composure, that all operatives contacted by him were killed by Dominion security within a day of speaking with him. His mention of Dominion efficiency at first suggests that Garak is as cool a customer as they come, sardonic in the face of terrible results, and that's how I always read the scene. However right after this he outlines a new plan he's come up with since the old one had failed, which is to bring Vreenak to the station to show him a forged data crystal. Garak assures Sisko that he can arrange for both the forgery and for the Senator to agree, but only if the invitation comes from Sisko himself. Garak also knew in advance that Sisko would never have the stomach for something that Starfleet would refuse to back, and here comes the kicker: When Sisko mentions that Starfleet would have to approve such a plan Garak immediately reminds him that since Betazed has just fallen Starfleet will no doubt be amenable to such a plan where they might not have been before.

Consider this: Betazed apparently fell so easily because the fleet guarding it happened to be away on training exercises, leaving the planetary system undefended. This is a pretty crazy thing to hear when one stops to think about it. It's a real wtf moment. They literally went off to train and lost a key star system for nothing within a day? That's not just a disaster, it's outrageous. To be honest I'd never given it much thought before. Just how did the Dominion get so lucky as to attack a key system that was normally defended at such a time as the fleet was away? The episode doesn't even address this question, and you'd think that the first thought would be that there was a Founder behind it or something like that, but the writers avoid discussing it altogether for some reason. It only clicked for me now for the first time after having seen this episode umpteen times. Here's the timeline:

-Sisko approaches Garak to bring Romulus into the war.
-Garak mentions that NO ONE wants the Dominion stopped more than him.
-Betazed falls due to the Dominion magically knowing a fleet was momentarily out of position.
-Garak presents a plan to Sisko that Starfleet would never had approved unless they had just lost a key system.

There's no certainty here, but this explanations seems to me to fit better than any other: Garak knew that to approach him Sisko must be desperate. Garak knew of the training exercise, fed the Dominion the information necessary for them to easily capture Betazed, lied to Sisko about having tried to contact agents who then died, and presented to him what had been the real plan all along, knowing that Sisko basically had no choice but to accept. And the reason Garak required Sisko to go along with all this is because Vreenak would never have gone anywhere near Garak or the station unless someone as credible as Sisko invited him. The beauty of it is that Garak's plan had outstanding chances for success since realistically all that he needed to accomplish was (a) getting past security on Vreenak's ship, and (b) keeping Sisko from losing his head during the process. These were both reasonable things for him to expect he could do, and so giving away Betazed - as crazy as it sounds - would have been a safe sacrifice to make with immense potential returns. He had probably already concluded, as Jack and the mutants had, that without a decisive turn of events the war was unwinnable by the Federation, and so from that perspective even if the gambit had been a longshot it would still be better than nothing.

It makes sense, but I'm wondering whether I'm connecting imaginary dots or whether the writers meant to imply this. If so then it was very subtle, but the clue is when Garak conspicuously mentions Betazed to Sisko right after telling him in a nonchalant manner that Sisko's version of the plan had failed.
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Peter G.
Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 9:00am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

@ bleakness,

"I mean too "on the nose". But since it was a satire of modern day Catholocism, than I'm fine with that.
I've noticed something in common with most good sci fi writers have with good comedians: if you are easily offended.. if you are JUST LOOKING to be offended, and then complain when you are offended.. GET OUT"

You have missed my point. Something cannot be a satire of something (like Catholicism) unless it actually understands that thing. I assure you that Seth doesn't, and further, that he couldn't care less to understand it. Putting out legitimate grievances with a religion is perfectly valid as an excercise in the intellectual forum. Putting out a 'rebuttal' of a fake version of the thing isn't satire, it's propaganda designed to whip up hatred based on a lie. It's the same tool fascists use to make the population angry. It's true, I am offended. But not at the attack on religion, but rather on the attack on intellectual integrity. A show being associated with Trek and yet undermining all of its values - that's what offends me.
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Peter G.
Sat, Dec 9, 2017, 10:44pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

I'll preface this post by saying that I don't watch this show and haven't seen any episodes since the pilot. However I trust Trek fan's reviews and based on what he says I'd like to chime in with one point. MacFarlane isn't a thinker, and his writing in general isn't ever meant to show two intelligent sides to any topic. Family Guy is an example par excellence of how MacFarlane thrives on creating straw men to mock any world views other than his own, and how the intellectual tenor of the show was to deride without raising anything up. It's indicative of a downward spiral of nihilism, where the only value is to demonstrate that there are no values. Based on Trek fan's description here (and I apologize for dragging you into my post) it sounds right on point for MacFarlane's track record, which in this case sounds like a completely one-sided mudslinging effort designed to once again trounce a straw man and make people who agree with the fake position feel really smart for being so superior to the dumb religious people. Go check out TOS for examples of how local religions are treated with respect regardless of whether the Enterprise crew agrees with them. Creating a ridiculous version of "Christianity" just to throw religion under the bus isn't a debate, it's merely flimsy propaganda. Although I might add, sadly, that this kind of ham-fisted propaganda can be all-too effective. Once again, based purely on what I'm hearing, the Orville sounds like the precise opposite of everything Trek stands for. There's nothing more scurrilous than a hateful message being delivered with a smile, just like a bottle of arsenic with sweet flavoring.
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Peter G.
Sat, Dec 9, 2017, 11:19am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: Mirror, Mirror

To add to what Trent said, not only is the message idealistic, but within the terms of the episode it can be arrived at through pure logic. Even mirror Spock with his alternate set of values and training is unable to escape the inevitability of the truth of what Kirk says. It's not a matter of opinion or of political system: it's a stone cold fact that no one can change. Violent, oppressive rule will always be self-defeating in the long run. What's amazing about the message is that it's not merely utopian, which tends to imply that a thing *could* happen, but rather it implies that the final collapse of tyranny is an inescapable conclusion that is only a matter of when, not if.
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Peter G.
Fri, Dec 8, 2017, 11:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Retrospect

@ Skorpa,

I think you're probably right that he episode ends up saying nothing. I'd like to respond to one early comment you made, though:

"Seven wasn't raped. They knocked her out and stole some of her nanoprobes. That would be like someone knocking me out and stealing some of my blood."

I think you may have missed the implication of taking her nanoprobes. In the Borg the nanoprobes are what they use to assimilate and create *new Borg* drones. Think about that for a moment: it's what they use to reproduce. The closest analogy to this wouldn't be knocking you out and taking your blood, it would be knocking you out and *taking your sperm*. And yes, if someone did that I'm quite certain it would qualify as rape in every sense, especially in the sense of it being an assault on someone's sexual organs. It might seem odd to refer to a piece of technology as a sexual organ but in the Borg that's exactly what it is.
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Peter G.
Fri, Dec 8, 2017, 3:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: The Neutral Zone

This is a single episode later than Conspiracy and it's already clear they're setting up for the Borg invasion. I had heard lots of talk that the Borg were originally meant to be insectoid and that the parasites from Conspiracy were a lead-up to that until they decided to go another way. Watching this episode now I've decided there's no way. The parasites had a different MO, a different attitude than a race that would simply remove entire outposts. The queen parasite insisted that they wanted *peaceful coexistence* (i.e. they control humanity) and I believe she meant it. What we see in The Neutral Zone is a whole different animal. These are not the same threat.

Another thing I'd forgotten all about is that Commander Tebok tells Picard that there had been no contact with the Romulans for decades because "matters more urgent caused our absence", and that in their absence they'd been negligent and allowed both the Borg attack as well as the Federation expansion. What in the world could have been going on for the Romulans between TOS and now? Civil war? Rebellion? War with another race (the Klingons)? It's an awfully curious tidbit to throw in that never gets any explanation that I know of. It's funny to even have Tebok say it because I don't think any audience members would have ever had the thought that the Romulans were conspicuously absent. There were TOS S3 eps with them, and now one in TNG S1, so it's not like there was an unexplained hiatus. But they decided to state that there had been one anyhow, and left it at that. Weird.
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Thu, Dec 7, 2017, 9:39pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: New Dimensions

i can’t get through it. i fall asleep. every time. tried 5 times to watch it.

And to be fair, that elevator alien is really *not funny*.
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Thu, Dec 7, 2017, 5:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S1: Detained

Stupid and self-righteous Archer makes up his mind about a complex situation in 2 seconds and decides to endanger the lives of all Suliban in all detention camps with a stupid escape attempt, while basically declaring war on a species they just met, instead of answering some simple questions to help the Tandarans fight their common enemies in the temporal cold war.

Also, when T’Pol and her fake-ass lips are in charge of the bridge and talking to the planet, why does everyone think they can shout from their chairs at the screen?
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Wed, Dec 6, 2017, 3:22am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Majority Rule


Just catching up a bit and I saw your note from Nov. 5th.


It's the little things. You didn't HAVE to change it, but you took the time to do it, and now it's better. Much appreciated. :D

Regards... RT
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Tue, Dec 5, 2017, 11:31pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Skin of Evil

Is it just me or is Denise Crosby mailing it in this last episode, knowing she was gone? The first scene on the bridge with Worf she seems to have this smirk on her face.

Easy in retrospect to say she made a mistake leaving, but I think she would have been canned anyways as the producers wanted to get rid of 2 of the female leads. Still would have been better to have canned Sirtis and kept Crosby on as chief security officer, with Worf as 2nd.
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Tue, Dec 5, 2017, 11:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Too Short a Season

Holy crap, this is typical season 1 badness. 0/5.
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Roger W Norris
Tue, Dec 5, 2017, 12:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Masks

Reading over the comments, it looks like this episode should have been postponed until the ideas could have been worked out.
If this had to happen, the Enterprise was the perfect place for it. Capt. Picard is a trained archeologist, so he knew what was going on. And the archive possessed Data, instead of the computer. So it made much less damage than it could have. (Someone should have really pointed this out.) It needed more work, but not too bad within its limits. One important question, though. Why does the goddess Masaka's symbol look like a Chinese man?
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Peter G.
Tue, Dec 5, 2017, 9:01am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Skin of Evil

I can hardly believe I'm saying this, but I think I've realized that this episode is meant to be a possible criticism of the perfection of the TNG crew and Federation society. Armus says that a society of beings wanting to perfect themselves and eliminate their worse parts literally did so, by shedding their evil instincts and becoming beauteous things. When I heard this it occurred to me that this is exactly the manifesto of TNG's world, much more so than TOS ever claimed. In TOS no one claims to be perfect, and although Earth's values have advanced and peace is considered a virtue, individually people still have foibles and don't pretend to be perfect. On TNG, though, their pretensions of being nobler creatures are much more pronounced, and Skin of Evil seems to me to strike directly at the heart of that: if you renounce all the darker sides of humanity and try to shed them, they *will not* disappear, but will end up simply being shunted somewhere else, possibly somewhere unexpected. And the more repressed and ignored these darker parts are, the stronger they'll actually be, especially when they unexpectedly appear and boil to the surface.

I think this is a surprisingly disturbing episode despite having essentially no story, and despite the fact that Yar's passing is fairly unremarkable. In a funny way Armus reminds me of The Incredible Hulk, insofar as he's pure unadulterated pain and rage with no possibility of reasoning with it, and the only possibility of survival is to avoid or escape him. In both cases, despite the threat level, you end up pitying them rather than wishing them ill, because they just can't help it and are only the way they are because they're victims of circumstances beyond their control.
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Tue, Dec 5, 2017, 2:13am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Datalore

This episode is classic for several reasons:

1. Lore
2. 'Often Wrong' Soong
3. Shut up Wesley

Too bad Lore didn't turn Wesley into a torch. That I would pay to see.
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Peter G.
Mon, Dec 4, 2017, 11:33pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S3: Let That Be Your Last Battlefield

I agree with you, Trek fan. This episode can be ridiculed for its simplicity, and yet that's why it's great. The makeup is ridiculous - and yet that's the exact reason it's brilliant, because so is the racism being portrayed. The characters seem so extreme, and yet that's only because they are so convinced they're right. And the arguments seem to go in circles forever and go nowhere - which is exactly where circular logic goes. Both of them are even given rather convincing sounding things to say about each other, and the point is that in the end none of it matters. They can be as right as they like in each of their points and yet in the end their hatred is wrong no matter how right they are. The destroyed world is the only conclusion that could possibly come from people so resolute in being correct about another's misdeeds. This note, that being kind and forgiving is more important than being right, ends up transcending the racism theme and can speak to any number of egoistic problems people have where they put their own concept of correctness over and above the point of view of others. The proof is in the pudding: take a look at U.S. politics today. This episode is must-watch TV now more than ever. We've regressed since this first aired.
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Sun, Dec 3, 2017, 8:38am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Command Performance

Each new episode of Orville following the pilot has been better than the previous one. This show is great! I LOVE Orville. Thankfully, there are still producers and screenwriters out there who don't underestimate the intelligence of the viewers and still offer interesting, true science-fiction stories in the best tradition of Star Trek (mainly TOS, TNG). I strongly disagree with Jammer's view that Orville is a "clone" of Trek. The Orville isn't a clone, it's inspired by Trek, obviously, and pays great tribute and homage to one of the best Trek shows that existed; mainly TOS and TNG, although there are also elements of VOY, which is totally fine as well. This is not a rehash of the Berman era of Trek either. By the way, I love the Berman era, it was the golden age of Trek! The Orville finds inspiration in the optimistic, utopian future world, that was largely depicted by Star Trek (TNG), and which Berman's Trek era was so careful to preserve. We can be grateful for that. At least I am. You can imagine my disappointment after seeing all that being gradually destroyed now with the new 'Star Trek' series... but that's another matter. I think we're lucky and blessed that Orville exists now, at this moment, when Star Trek seems to be completely veering off course, offering a glimmer of hope to the audience who appreciate Roddenberry's optimistic view of the future as well as good, cerebral science-fiction stories and interesting characters. The cinematography and make up is also great on this show. My overall impression is very good. I'm very satisfied with the Orville, and, as I can see, many other people are, too. I wish the Orville a happy journey.
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Peter G.
Sat, Dec 2, 2017, 9:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Things Past

@ Joey Lock,

I agree with you that Kira's attitude could come off as somewhat holier than thou, but I don't think that's what they're going for, and having just quickly watched the scene again I'm not really sure that's even what it looks like. When I read your comment my recollection agreed with your assessment, but now that I look at it again with this in mind I feel like maybe you (and I, too) read into the scene something we expected to see rather than what's really there. We see it as a mirror to the end of "Necessary Evil" but this one is different. If I had to name the feeling Kira's showing in this scene it would be sadness, rather than judgement or condescension. What she actually says is that she and others had held Odo so highly that he was practically perfect, and now she realizes he isn't and that image is shattered. If you want to read carefully into that what's really happening is the idol of him that she'd constructed is tumbling, and she's sad to be losing the memory of it; it's a growing pain for her. Odo's remark is that this leaves him as being just himself, not some perfect person. Her sadness can even be read as a kind of happiness in that she's more like him than she thought...for better or for worse. Insofar as she doesn't like certain aspects of herself now she can see some of herself in him, which of course causes her pause. Not because she condemns him, but because she realizes he shares her weaknesses and she no longer has that unreal version of him to cling to. Without giving spoilers, it's probably this scene and Odo's humbling realization (and hers) that allow what comes in future seasons to happen.

Check the scene out again, I don't think she's questioning his morality. She's realizing he's not perfect, and she's right, and is coming to terms with that. She never should have thought it in the first place - it was a childish vice of hers to try to make things so simple. Over the course of 5 seasons she's had a lot of childish notions busted, but this is the time it's finally her notions about him. Think back to Crossfire and how clueless she was to what he was going through. Back then Kira couldn't imagine Odo could ever have problems or fail at anything; she said in that episode that he was so solid, always reliable. It was like a kid talking to a parent. When kids grow up they realize parents aren't perfect, sometimes deeply flawed. Realizing that doesn't mean one condemns the parents; it's the childishness being washed away.
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Sat, Dec 2, 2017, 12:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: New Dimensions

i’m trying to get this to play on foxnow on my apple tv and it just will not do it. keeps giving me a content error right after the fox logo.

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Sat, Dec 2, 2017, 10:16am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Year of Hell, Part I

They built an astrometrics lab, that has 10 times the mapping accuracy they had before. What does that even mean? They didn't know where they were before? And they plot a new course home, that will save them 5 years. Wut? What course were they taking before? I would assume they pointed towards Earth and flew there in as straight a line as possible. How could they have been off by 5 years? Silly.

And the whole premise of this episode is dumb. Like Jammer said, why wouldn't they have just left immediately and gone around this area?

Why did that one chick on the bridge die when the timewave or whatever it is went through Voyager? Everyone else was fine.

How was Voyager not destroyed long before they came up with temporal shields?

And the whole ignoring Kes thing annoyed me greatly.

The time ship and the alterations it makes to the timeline make no sense whatsoever as other people mentioned.

This could have been way way better.

2 1/2 stars.
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Nicholas A Sergi
Sat, Dec 2, 2017, 6:35am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: New Dimensions

Yeah, as a fan of Trek, especially 90's Trek, I like the fact that old stories can be re-purposed for this show, and that the episodes can be both familiar AND new. It's comforting.. that's why I watch. The newest episode (no spoilers) is taking the idea that it's the CHARACTERS who solve problems to get out of anomalies (The Immunity Syndrome) with the two dimensional thing (The Loss) with the responsibilities of being put into command (Parallax) and by combining those three episodes, it feels fresh yet comfortingly familiar. I don't want it to not be what it is now.
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