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Brian
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 5:29am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

@Brian
"But somehow if it's a gay scene I don't want in Star Trek it automatically means I'm a homophobe."

Not automatically.

In many cases like this I would actually agree with you. I intensely dislike gratitious sex/snogging/whatever scenes regardless of whether they're gay or hetero.

But out of curiousity (I don't pay for CAA and see Discovery) I decided to look for a clip of the said "controversial" scene, and I'm not sure what's so bothering you there. It was just two people standing in a room speaking with one another, with perhaps two seconds of actual physical contact.

So what's the problem?

And comparing what you've said here to an objection over token minorities in TOS doesn't work. Let's take your original complaint:

"Gay scene--sorry, this is not a judgement, just a preference--I don't think gay belongs in Star Trek. It's just annoying. I know there are people out there who live that way and that's fine. But to force it into my living room because I'm a Star Trek fan is beyond annoying."

Now replace all the gay references with black/asian/whatever. Would you call such a person anything but a racist?

I'll be honest with you: That scene was awkward to me too, in a way that I certainly wouldn't feel if that was a hetero couple. But that's my problem. And if there's any TV show that has a right to force me to confront this problem, it's Star Trek. That's pretty much the definition of what Trek is all about.

And they've done it 100% correctly here. No big speeches. No big deal. Just two mates talking while brushing their teeth. (it's just a shame that it had to happen in *this* series. I watched a few bits of this episode here and there while searching for the scene we're talking about, and none of it seemed even remotely compelling to me)

@MidshipmanNorris
"As it went on, and became more intimate, with Culber brushing Stamet's hair, I found myself growing uncomfortable with it, and I can't explain why. 'Why shouldn't there be a gay couple on Trek?' I asked myself. "Why does this make you uncomfortable?" I don't really know why. I'm guessing it just flopped me out of my comfort zone a little too hard for my taste. I guess I still have a long way to go toward being an accepting human being. :("

Ha. Tell me about it.

But really, I think you're being too hard on yourself.

I don't think that feeling comfortable with everyone and everything is a requirement for being "an accepting human being". We're not machines and feeling awkward is a natural part of life.

As long as you aren't using this awkwardness as an excuse for actual prejudice, you're fine. :-)


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Brian
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 3:09am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S1: Learning Curve

Get the cheese to sick bay!
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Brian
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 11:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

So, I am actually sorry for causing a scene on here with my gay comments. Thank you, Wolfstar for attempting to understand what I was trying to say. I suppose I could have said it better though. What I'd like to get across is that I didn't like the gay scene for the same reason I didn't like the f-bombs. As wolfstar noted, it felt forced and made it feel less like Trek.

Try this--it's my same paragraph except about f-bombs instead of homosexuality:

"F-Bombs--sorry, this is not a judgement, just a preference--I don't think swearing belongs in Star Trek. It's just annoying. I know there are people out there who swear and that's fine. But to force it into my living room because I'm a Star Trek fan is beyond annoying. Having people drop an f-bomb out of nowhere is a writing cop-out. If they were truly trying to make the characters seem like "real people" they'd write them that way, not rely on swearing to make the point. And it wasn't even realistic swearing--officers in military vessels swear, oh yes they do, but that scene was awkward and the f-bombs seemed incredibly contrived. Kind of like, copy-pasted."

If I had written THAT paragraph, I bet not a single person would have jumped on me for being a judgemental asshole. But somehow if it's a gay scene I don't want in Star Trek it automatically means I'm a homophobe. What a bunch of BS. I am the last person in the world who would judge anyone for anything.

Oh, and Uhura WAS copy-pasted into TOS. She was literally the token black woman in a mini-skirt. Not a single thing about her was linked to her country of origin, culture, history, at all. Ah, but if anyone objects to copy-pasting stuff in from a committee, they must be a homophobe or a racist. The self-righteousness is strong with this board.


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Brian
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 2:27am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

Honestly as a gay man, I would think you'd be offended by their portrayal. Consider the fact that the risky, challenging part of portraying a real relationship, the evolution of it within the context of a particular set of characters and society, was completely side-stepped. We have a gay couple just copy-pasted into the show, as if some executive said "just put a gay couple in there." It is the absolute laziest, cheapest way to do it possible. I'd be offended, so I'm very interested to hear why you aren't!
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Brian
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 1:31am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

This was the best episode of the series so far, but the bar is pretty low after the last few. Finally the writers realized you need some kind of sub-plot to allow characterization to occur, instead of some grand umbrella called "serialization." So we got a prison-break episode set on a Klingon ship and it didn't turn out half bad. Lorca is the tough guy. Mudd is onboard (why?). I still don't like how the Klingons are portrayed, but it's becoming apparent that the writers feel that is how they must be portrayed if we are to buy into them being the enemy. It just feels wrong though--we have many years worth of Klingon episodes etched into our hearts--those honorable, tough, warriors, yet somehow remarkably human at the same time. Those Klingons are gone and I think they made a mistake doing it that way. It could have been done so much better.

The spore plot advanced a bit and possibly ended--we'll see. There was some attempt at characterization of the crew members, which is a promising sign.

Still, the writers continue to show their immaturity and lack of writing prowess. We still get several long expositional speeches to cameras. In one scene, it is particularly cringy--this time, a 30 second recap of the spore drive plot delivered speech-to-audience style by Burnham. This one had me hitting the pause button to have a laugh with my wife about the quality of the writing.

Sometimes, it appears as if the cast are being forced to deliver their lines at 2x speed.

The editing is loose and in several parts, just poor. The captain appears in a shuttle by himself with no warning, and we are left wondering why he is there and then is suddenly attacked. The captain somehow steals a shuttle from the Klingons without us knowing about it. We don't need to see every single thing that happens behind the scenes, but glaring errors like these pull you out of the action and it's just poor editing. I bet the scenes were shot, even. But where are they?

The cinematography--passable. We still have copious amounts of exaggerated lens flare, washed out colors, and monotone sets. Camera angles are all over the place although not as blatant as the pilot.

F-bombs--unbelievable, seemed forced, like the writers were trying to say "Hey look at us, we do unexpected things like put swearing in Star Trek. Watch the next episode please."

Gay scene--sorry, this is not a judgement, just a preference--I don't think gay belongs in Star Trek. It's just annoying. I know there are people out there who live that way and that's fine. But to force it into my living room because I'm a Star Trek fan is beyond annoying. Also, having a romantic couple being already established on the crew is a writing cop-out. The challenge to writing romance is the build-up. If they were truly trying to take a risk, they'd let the relationship evolve naturally during the course of the show. It feels like it was forced into the show by some committee--yea "real" progress.

During this episode, it has become become apparent that Burnham is dragging the show down. I'm not sure how many more extended shots of her expressionless face I can take. I sincerely hope that the writers have done this purposefully, in preparation for her character to shed her tough exterior and evolve into this wonderfully colorful person. If so, great. Let's get evolving. She's dragging every scene she's in, and it's possible it might just be her. She needs some fun episodes to let her character come out.

It's a slow start. For DS9 this early on, we had already met Garak, who would go on to be one of the shows most memorable characters. And the 5th episode was "Babel"--an interesting story about a virus that induces speech oddities that allowed the actors to say funny things. Voyagers 5th episode was "The Cloud"--about harvesting resources out of a living nebula. It was not an incredible episode but I do remember it fondly--it was, similar to Discovery, about the ethics of harming sentient life forms. TNG's fifth was "The Last Outpost"--a misguided introduction to the Ferengi that never went anywhere.

2 stars for me. There was some promising characterization. The prison-break sub-plot was a welcome departure from the ponderous serial arc. But the writing, pacing, and editing continue to be poor, and Burnham is dragging the show down. Overall it still feels like fan-fiction with good CGI.
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Anthony Laviano
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 10:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

I didn't find the fuck any more jarring than when Scotty refereed to a character as a bastard in one episode. I was surprised that made it through 1960's TV.
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Brian
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 8:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

I say we treat Kurtzman as the new Rick Berman/Brannon Braga start blaiming him for everything wrong with this series. Any takers?
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Diane Durall
Sun, Oct 1, 2017, 9:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: If the Stars Should Appear

Does anyone have info/ideas on how the name "Dural" came to be used in Orville. since our name is "Durall", am curious.
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Diane
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: If the Stars Should Appear

Curious as to how/why the name "Dural" came to be used.
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Brian
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 9:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Shattered

The premise was impossible to take seriously in a way that I could give it any level of suspension of disbelief (your ship is in different time periods in different locations?), but that's not to say I didn't like it. As a premise, it's fun and creative enough to let me give it an episode's viewing, but if there was any kind of continuation into the actual series, I would have been disappointed. As for the execution of the premise, I'm mixed. I really liked the flashback and flash forward nature of the show. If only Kes had appeared - and maybe some of the crew who died in the first episode. That said, Chipotle was never my favorite character. I don't despise him, but with his lack of emotional range, he's practically a Vulcan. The dearth of energy was definitely noticed here, and it infected the entire episode. I also got tired of all of the talk of the temporal prime directive, because I knew it was a show in isolation. They could have cut out much of that and put in more references to other episodes. Overall, I always enjoy revisiting this episode, but I don't love it the way some people do.
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Brian S.
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: General Discussion

"Star Trek used to be about imagination, probing human nature, science and fiction, and drama. Now it's about "diversity," elimination of "toxic" masculinity, and promotion of political agenda."

******

Excuse me? Come again? You think NOW it's about *diversity*?!

Seriously, what in the blue hell have you been watching for the last 50 years?

The very first incarnation of Star Trek was all about diversity. Diversity was the central (borderline primary) theme from the start. It's why the Enterprise crew was specifically intentionally shown to be a multi-ethnic, multi-national, even multi-species set of officers. Russian, Scottish, Black, Asian, Female...VULCAN!

The original pilot episode--"The Cage"--had a female first officer because....feminism!

Hell, the character of Spock himself was created specifically to highlight the diversity of the future. This was not an accident, it was intentional and it was a feature of the program which drove its popularity. Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations

The core of Star Trek is a united egalitarian Federation of diverse peoples, planets, and cultures, and at its center is an Earth where war, hunger, money, and religion are all but gone from humanity.

I truly don't understand people like you, Michael. It's been 50 years. There have been 7 television series, 13 feature-length movies, and countless novels under the Star Trek banner with diversity, social justice, and various progressive political ideals and agendas at their core. If this were still 1968, maybe you could be forgiven for not getting the memo yet. But it's 20-freaking-17.....how is a supposed Star Trek fan, of all people, still offended by the notion of Star Trek captain who has a black-left/white-right face?!


"Star Trek was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms." - Gene Roddenberry, Social Justice Warrior Admiral
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Brian
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 11:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

There wasn't much sci-fi in this pilot--just a whole lot of modern, sleek looking sets and space scenes as a back drop to a lot of extended speeches to cameras. Even Michaels final scene where she faces the Federation tribunal, falls completely flat--no attempt was made to make it realistic in any way. It appears that she is speaking to a camera, delivering a speech written on note cards. The entire premier was that way---most scenes with the Klingons were just the main villain giving a speech to the camera. There was zero emotional impact when the captain died, zero when the shenzou blew up, zero when Michael got sentenced to prison. So, the pretty much a zero by the end.

The subject matter was extremely limited. The Klingons don't like the Federation telling them what to do. A border dispute with said Klingons leads to war. Yawn. They couldn't have come up with anything better than that?? It seems like the laziest possible way for the writers to get a war started.

Compare this to "The Caretaker" which had the crew and ship being pulled to a different quadrant of the galaxy by a powerful alien being. Encounter at Farpoint may seem quaint to us now, but it was still a better pilot.

Now, we haven't even seen the enterprise or her new crew yet, so I will wait to pass judgement. But, based purely on what I've seen so far, STD appears to be a lazily written war drama set in space using the name "Star Trek". Sort of like what they did with Rogue One, only drawn out over a season of TV. If STD doesn't manage to transcend that limited story, it will fail miserably. Remember, the episodes about Klingons in TOS and TNG were cool because they were rare--once or twice a season, we would be treated to an epic 2-part episode full of explosive Klingon politics and posturing, with a story line skillfully woven into the lives of the Enterprise crew. And then we went back to other subject matter until the next time. That's what made the whole thing work.

You can't base an entire season of television on a federation-klingon war and a bunch of shiny costumes. This premier was poorly written, formulaic, and lacking any deep sci-fi concepts.

Style over substance is the rule now. Hopefully it gets better.
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Brian S.
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 8:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

"who the f*** cares about canon?"

I've seen this argument pop up a lot throughout this thread, and I honestly do not understand it.

If none of us care about what came before in Trek, then what the **** are any of us doing here on a 20+ year old blog site for fans of old Trek episodes?

As Omicron noted earlier, good writing fits coherently into the whole. A chapter that is noticeably incongruent with the rest of the story is a sign of poor writing that negatively impacts the product.

I mean, if I write the letters of the alphabet as: "A-B-2-D-E-X-4-H-%-J..." it's not the reader who is to blame for being so nitpicky to notice that something is obviously amiss.

If someone wants to write a "Fiddler on the Roof" prequel that tells the story of Tevye's early life and marriage to Golde, it can't include a scene where Tevye has a bad date with a chick he met on JDate.com. It doesn't matter how small a detail it was or how well-written the rest of the story is, putting technology that is noticeably a century out of place for the timeline of the story is going to be jarring to anyone who understands or cares about the story enough to pay money to see a FOTR prequel.

I didn't care much for the JJ Trek movies. But Abrams did make one astute comment in an interview I read to the effect of it's hard to write new stories in the Trek prime universe because you are shackled by 40+ years (or 400+ years) of prior stories. I respect that. I respect the difficulty of that. I understand the desire to break free and do new things.

But that's why you go into the future. A post-Dominion War Federation/AQ was ripe for storytelling that mirrors our time. Detente, new relationships among the superpowers (at times both peaceful and distrustful), battle scars, letting go of old grudges, new villains, perhaps even the potential for small factions of radicals that emerge to threaten the established order and test the bonds of galactic peace and stability. To go with new imagined technologies and exploration. The 25th century has fertile Trek storytelling ground, even with the weight of the past.

ENT, the JJ movies, and now Discovery all decided to shackle themselves even tighter by telling stories we already know the larger outcome to. It can be done and even done well. But re-treading over the same territory just ups the difficulty level. TNG only had 3 seasons, a cartoon, and a couple of movies to deal with, and it flew nearly a century into the future to spread its wings and avoid the shackles
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Gianni
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 11:01am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Hard Time

My wife and I are big Star Trek fans, and while I can appreciate episodes like this (Inner Light ex) or other shows/movies that have a fake reality (The Matrix), and while I did find a lot of what many of the posters here (going back 10+ years on this message board!) have discussed, I did not overall find this episode to be fitting at all in DS9.

My main issue is the fact that the writers tried to cram this idea of 'what if' reality into a show without any regard for how Star Trek or the federation works. I don't get super nit-picky, but this episode required without question, the largest suspension of belief out of just about any episode I've seen. First of all, there is virtually no mention of what he did, no emotional repercussions in future episodes, no retaliation from the Federation and no real message other than "if someone goes to prison for 20 years in a box, they will be ruined".

DS9 is the first major Star Trek that has larger story arcs, while the episode was quite thought provoking and draws attention to a very real scenario, it makes absolutely no sense that it would happen. Why is Chief O'Brien even in the POSITION to COMMIT a form of espionage? No back story, no prologue, just a rather depressing "novella" of an episode. They should really have just made it its own 'Christmas Special' in an alternate universe, and it would have made more sense.

Anyway, it's definitely worth watching, and hits on some real and major issues... Prison re-entry, unfair punishment, unfair justice system are all brought up. In spite of all of that, I just couldn't suspend my believe far enough to really BUY this episode. Glad it came with my Netflix and I doubt I will be seeing it again anytime soon...
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Diana
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 10:35am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Tears of the Prophets

How did Gul Dukat manage to get close enough to transport undetected to DS9? If it was so easy, they would have taken the station in no time.
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Brian
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 9:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

Having finished watching the opening offering of DSC I would say I am definitely more optimistic than I was before I watched the pilot, even though I missed the first half. That said, I am still very skeptical as to whether this series will be able to challenge the glory of DS9 and TNG and become another "true" classic Trek show, but I think it may turn out to at least be decent in its own right (and have lots of eye candy).
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Brian
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

I actually didn't know this show was also airing the old fashioned way... just stumbled on it by chance, and missed the first half. The difference in the appearance of the Klingons is pretty jarring... unfortunately it seems like they are trying to "demonize" them since they are The Enemy in this show... they look much more menacing but also less dynamic, less like real people. The visuals are fantastic however, making me wish modern special effects were around for shows like DS9 and Babylon 5, two shows with their epic space battles and massive fleets would be amazing with modern visuals.

As a side note I liked seeing Lord Privy Seal Cronwell from The Tudors cast as a Vulcan, he's a great actor.

Getting used to a new show can take me some time so I'll do my best to keep an open mind despite my instinctive skepticism given the fact that it's another prequel. Right now the characters aren't impressing me as much as other Sci Fi series I like, they seem a little bland. But we'll see.
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Brian
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 11:38am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: General Discussion

I'm not very optimistic about this show... I hope I'm wrong, but it seems like they didn't learn their lessons from Enterprise for one thing, and for another I'm afraid this series will be too Abrahms like for its own good. The Dominon War storyline to me worked well because 1) There were seasons of build up to it, that made us care about the characters and setting and then feel the shock of our beloved Federation going to war. 2) We didn't know how it would turn out, what the total damage would be or if the Federation would even survive. 3) The Dominion was a fresh, exceptionally powerful adversary that brought in new interesting threats for our characters to face, like the Shapeshifting founders, the drug using, cloaking Jem'hadar 4) the threat united the Alpha Quadrant in a galactic "world war".

Basing the series around conflict with the Klingons just can't get me near as excited as I was about the Dominion War. It just feels stale, it's been seen before in TOS and the films. I'm not saying that they couldn't make some good material out of this premise, but it just feels limiting. Even in Voyager, not one of my favorite series BTW, they had the Borg as a good fresh nemesis for our heroes (even if they were a bit neutered compared to how they were originally presented in TNG).
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Brian S.
Fri, Sep 22, 2017, 4:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Old Wounds

I liked the pilot episode enough. Not blow-me-away great, but watchable and entertaining enough....even if a little groan worthy.

I think the best description of --and hope for--The Orville is not TNG, but rather a serialized Galaxy Quest.

Galaxy Quest wasn't great or earth-shattering, but it was good and watchable (and importantly, re-watchable).

GQ was most definitely a copy/homage/parody of Star Trek. It had some good humor, some bland humor, and also some juvenile groan-worthy humor....but it worked.

Despite being an obvious comedic parody, GQ also had its own feel and managed to be interesting in its own light. In between jokes, it had some heart and some enjoyable drama/non-parody moments. The writing, acting, and story were all done quite well.

That, I think, is the path the Orville needs to follow.

For me, the big question here is: How long can you make a parody copy of a copy work for?

Galaxy Quest was entertaining.....for about 100 minutes. I'm still entertained by the Orville after ~120 minutes. How well is The Orville schtick going to hold up after 7 hours? 13 hours? 20 hours?
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Brian
Thu, Sep 21, 2017, 1:40am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Threshold

I'm a lifelong Trek watcher. I enjoy all the highly rated episodes from all the shows, just like everyone else. Threshold was not the best episode but my god the criticism on this site is completely over the top. I enjoyed it. Paris did a good job with a weird script, and by the final scene with the amphibians, I was actually invested. This episode ended up being mostly about friendship and a shared experience between Paris and Janeway, and with the closing credits I was left simply with the feeling that they shared something nobody else would ever share, something they could always look back on and say "remember that insane thing that happened to us?" and just laugh. Kind of like kids who are best friends do years later. You all take yourselves way too seriously!
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Brian
Mon, Sep 18, 2017, 8:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Half a Life

Like some others I am surprised that Jammer rated this episode as low as he did. I think it's a solid threee star episode, and represents the best use of Tori's mother. I will allow the fact that when you think about it farther the society under examination here and it's issue is absurd, and that does limit the amount of social relevance the episode can have. For sci fi drama, however, it works quite well.
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Brian
Sat, Sep 16, 2017, 6:19am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Homeward

The problem with the prime directive as expressed here is that it doesn't work the way modern law does; not in absolutes. Maybe it begins in more absolute terms, but through the ages it gets challenged in court cases, and judges write up what basically amounts to exceptions based on higher principals. For one thing the prime directive would likely not be a simple "do not interfere with species that do not posses warp travel", it would more likely be a complex document stipulating intent, exceptions etc. and through the ages it would have been challenged in courts and more exceptions would likely exist. How does this effect this episode? It means that it's not particularly useful to examine the human condition using absolutes that don't exist. And it's not even very useful more making a very good episode.
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Brian
Sat, Sep 16, 2017, 5:43am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Reunion

Agree with the strong 3.5 stars, probably actually a 4 in my book. One of my favorites. Though I do agree with what was mentioned above, the sub plot involving the bomb going off required more thought. Was the bomb intended to kill Galron? If so then why didn't the bomber stand closer to him? It seemed to effect everyone the same. And what was with Dulras' rush, the "finish this now!"? Oh well, a small flaw in an otherwise stellar episode.
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Brian
Sat, Sep 16, 2017, 5:28am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

I would have to say I rate this as 2.5 stars- not in the "loser" category, but almost. Maybe it's because I actually found the humor to be kind of funny (even if not always dignified), maybe it's because I don't take TOS quite as seriously as others (I'm a TNG and DS9 guy), or maybe it's because I find the pseudo-mystic plot intriguing, as I like plots of that nature. But yeah, still not a winner either. I like it better than the new Trek movies though.... I'd say they are no better than two Star affairs.
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Brian
Thu, Sep 14, 2017, 7:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Old Wounds

After watching this show I have to say I prefer Farscapr's take on being a space show with humor much more than this show- it is funny while still taking itself seriously, and not in a glib kind of way. Definitely worth checking out for any Trek fans who haven't seen it and like the idea of mixing humor with sci fi.
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