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Hapworth
Fri, Feb 17, 2017, 1:36pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Liaisons

I like this episode. But I also liked both parts of Descent, so perhaps I'm not to be trusted. Yes, the story is boilerplate, and there's definitely that sense of "been here, done this," which Jammer accurately locates in on-screen elements (the "Trekkian mantra" or "TOS template") and off-screen elements (borrowing from another film: Misery).

So okay. "Liaisons" doesn't offer the freshest strawberries in the patch, but I appreciate episodes that, despite all the weaknesses, still shine through. Like William B, I too have a soft spot for Worf, and he's hilarious here; his antagonist is also terrific because he's instantly loathsome! The food-addicted ambassador is a hoot as well, and he and his surly colleague make quite the comic pair. I laughed out loud as one scene ended with Mr. Loathsome insulting Worf, and then another scene started with Mr. All-You-Can Eat, accompanied by Troi, sipping a fruity drink from a giant Hurricane glass the size of a small vase.

I agree with others that if the Ana storyline had been treated in earnest, some real drama could have been generated. I love "Liaisons" portrays Ana (initially, at least, before she gets kooky) as deeply scarred and beyond lonely. She has lost some of her speech, and cannot gauge how much time has passed, mistaking her seven years marooned on the planet as "only one or two." Yikes! I felt for her; I really did.

But such drama wouldn't have matched well with Laurel and Hardy/Abbot and Costello/C-3PO and R2-D2 back on board the Enterprise (honestly, pick your thin/fat comedic duo of choice with which to compare Mr. Loathsome and Mr. All-You-Can-Eat!).

So there's that. Comedy--and just an overall sense of fun--thrives in this episode, at least for me. I also like Picard's comments near the end, where he admits that even though human ways are more "balanced," he does find it "nice" to see a culture take its curiosity to the "furthest extreme." I agree with Picard. The basic material of "Liaisons" might sound at first like a sleepy, familiar tune, but it's jazzed up with enough idiosyncratic grace notes that I was thoroughly engaged.

Engage!
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Hapworth
Sun, May 30, 2010, 12:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: The Thaw

The story here is decent enough, but the overall look is so spare (read: cheap) that it significantly affects the viewing experience. In fact, the set design of "The Thaw" reminded me of ST: TOS, where any given room on any given planet or spaceship, was ridiculously austere: a couple pieces of angular furniture and no wall hangings to be seen! Throw in a host of funny-looking extras wearing garishly bright costumes and you have a recipe for chaos.

It might sound like I am being too nitpicky, but the devil is in the details. We have seen more or less contemporaneous episodes of DS9 where the DS9 station is transformed into the past, nightmarish world of Tarok Nor through dramatic lighting, refugee costuming, and a strong sense of cinematographic vision. "The Thaw" needs more style in order to enhance the existential crises embedded within its narrative. Actually, just from a logic point of view, more style is needed. How can one suspend disbelief and accept an advanced alien culture (a culture that can not only place its people into stasis but provide virtual reality as well) that is unable to design a techno-reality that rises above a bad mime performance?
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Hapworth
Fri, May 28, 2010, 8:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: A Time to Stand

Wow, what a great kick-off to a season. Very visceral and grim. War feels real, even though so much of it has already happened (between season five and season six), and, moreover, what happened occurred "off stage." We viewers simply hear the chilling aftermath figures and the data hits us as it hits Sisko: hard. My only very mild complaint is that this episode needs (NEEDS!) a reaction scene involving Weyoun and Gul Dukat when they learn that the Ketracel-white facility has been destroyed by the Federation. Maybe this scene comes in a later episode (I am watching DS9 for the first time), but it would be priceless to see Weyoun's carefully crafted surface of nonchalance slip into one of surprise and anxiety--ditto for Dukat who has been too cocky over the Dominion's/Cardassia's military success. As a viewer, I want to see a scene where these two are visibly shaken and taken aback (much like Sisko's reaction to the news that only 14 Federation ships out of 112 survived). Man, I love this show!!!
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Hapworth
Sun, May 23, 2010, 10:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Call to Arms

Not sure how this episode did not receive four stars, though Jammer's rating is still quite high. The penultimate episode, "In the Cards," while charming, was also so light that it could float away, yet it received four stars. Still, I'm nitpicking. This is a great finale to a season, probably the strongest finale of any of the seasons of DS9. It's compelling, tension-filled, and the producers clearly saved money in the budget for the final episode because it shows: what a terrific battle sequence as the Dominion attach DS9. I can't wait to start season six.
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Hapworth
Thu, Apr 1, 2010, 12:48am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Rules of Engagement

Wow does Jammer know his stuff. I teach film, so I was impressed with how Jammer throws out terms like "diegetic" and "non-diegetic" (fancy terms for the elements that literally occur within the fictional action of the story and those elements that occur outside the storyline (such as when Dax breaks with the fictional world and speaks to the camera). I too was impressed with Lavar Burton's decision to take such a risk, which is rare in television (at least in the 90s, unless your name is David Lynch). I wonder if Burton was influenced by the Scorsese films, such as "Goodfellas," which came out a handful of years before "Rules of Engagement." There's a moment in the trial scene of "Goodfellas," near the end of the film, where Ray Liotta disrupts the diegesis (the fictional world of the film) to speak directly to the camera. Anyway, sorry to hijack this thread (as if anyone will really read this). I am in the habit of watching a few episodes of any given ST series and then rushing to Jammer's Web site to read his reviews. After I finished with "Rules," I ran here to see if Jammer too were impressed with director Burton's moves in this episode. Kudos to Jammer! The man knows his stuff! This man is the man!!!
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Hapworth
Tue, Feb 2, 2010, 12:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Tattoo

Yeah, like others, I'm bothered by the coincidences--Voyager coming across the 37s, Voyager bumping into a race of aliens that made contact with his tribe long ago. I'm all for putting logic aside, and I'm no hardcore sci-fi type (the type that demands, for instance, that physics must support (right down to the level of equations) a particular story detail), but when Star Trek--in all its guises--enters La La Land I have to admit that I inwardly groan. It's the biggest fault of Roddenberry and his successors: too many episodes simply don't pass as quality "SCI" fi (emphasis on the "sci"). There must be a way to have Chakotay's past come out more naturally and believably.
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