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james alexander
Sun, Dec 11, 2016, 6:08pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Year of Hell, Part I

I do get a kick out of any episode that goes as far as to trash the USS Voyager, such as this one or even Deadlock.
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james alexander
Sun, Dec 11, 2016, 6:07pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Year of Hell, Part I

this is one of my favourites, when I'm looking for a good couple of hours of television.
we have a Voyager at war, people are dying, anything that can go wrong will, and the action scenes of Voyager getting battered are still really cool. the walking reset button aspect of it turns it into more of an experiment than a nightmare that's going to haunt the ship and crew, however.
how much damage can we do? how many crew members can we kill? how will Janeway behave when she's subjected to a Year of Hell?

the way I see it, something this devastating ought to have been used as the final story-arc before the ship somehow makes it home. there was potential for a several episode arc, but instead it was a two-part episode with a reset, that simply turns it into a hypothetical scenario.
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james alexander
Fri, Dec 9, 2016, 10:06am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

well, somebody thought that it was a good idea for a flag-officer to beam down to a Cardassian Planet on a black-ops mission.
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james alexander
Fri, Dec 9, 2016, 9:40am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

that's a good point Peter, people are living longer and Picard has been put through worse situations before, such as in Chain of Command, or even the episode where his artificial heart blew-out and it was revealed that Q is Saint Peter.

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james alexander
Fri, Dec 9, 2016, 2:44am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

third thing that I need to bitch about:
Action Picard, and this is an issue with all the films. in this one we see a bald man in his sixties climbing all over a scaffold while holding a rifle, and he even stops to complain that he's too old at one point. Show Picard was a wise captain who would talk the back legs of a donkey then debate the moral justification for doing so, and now he's taking the Bruce Willis roles, in the films?

I can understand Riker doing action stuff, because it's Riker, and I can buy Worf beating people up, although he's starting to get fat in this one, but is Picard having a midlife crisis?
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james alexander
Fri, Dec 9, 2016, 2:28am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

Trek fan, I kind of agree with you.

nemesis was unspeakably dull but at least it had that battle.

insurrection is just painful to watch, with the comedy layered over a badly written political story, that also thinks it's an action film. in the first twenty minutes we see Data lose his mind, causing Picard and Data to stunt-fly their shuttles and somehow lock them together, without smashing into the ground, while Data sings HMS Pinafore. screw the Prime Directive, we're going to outfly the red arrows, in space shuttles.
there was one good moment and that was also completely bonkers, when Riker pulls out a joystick and starts flying the Enterprise like it's a computer game.
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james alexander
Fri, Dec 9, 2016, 2:21am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

I've taken to calling them space druids, with their apparent refusal to progress past the Iron Age Technologically.

the "Fountain of youth" should have been done away with, because the way it is executed leaves the space-druids without an argument:
the ugly buggers are coming back to a planet that supposedly grants long life-spans or something, and the space-druids won't piss off, despite the progress that they could make in another place. (McCoy lived to 140 according to the books, which isn't bad)
so the druids have the knowledge of advanced technology but they refuse to use it, instead they refuse to leave Narnia.
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james42519
Mon, Oct 24, 2016, 6:05am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: A Matter of Time

meant to say 23rd centary
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james42519
Mon, Oct 24, 2016, 5:33am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: A Matter of Time

in the beginning he says went back in time 300 years from 26 centenary. so that would be 25 centenary then? don't know why didn't say something till the end where say welcome to 24th centenary.
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James
Sat, Oct 15, 2016, 9:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Collective

FYI, AA, they don't keep juvenile drones in maturation chambers for years. They mature extremely quickly, as did 'One' back in season 5. It makes sense, if they have the tech to do it, because it wouldn't take much longer (if at all longer) than the standard assimilation process.
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James
Tue, Oct 11, 2016, 6:18pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Live Fast and Prosper


Am I the only one who gets endlessly frustrated with how ship combat always unfolds in Star Trek? Every time they try to do anything, the ship gets hit, and the exact thing they were trying to do goes offline. Sometimes several times in a row. Trying to use the tractor beam? Blam, tractor beam offline. Trying to transport someone? Blam, transporters offline. Replace with weapons, communications, warp drive, ad nauseum, and that's Star Trek in a nutshell.
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James
Sun, Oct 9, 2016, 9:47pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Equinox, Part II

Damn, these two parts were bad. The worst sort of bad - not only poor, lazy writing, but actually destructive to the show. This two parter actually manages to fundamentally damage two characters: that's quite the achievement for 1 1/2 hours of storytelling.

1. The doctor. So, the doctor is simply a function of his ethical subroutines. First, why does he have 'ethical subroutines' that are easily divisible from his character? If one were to delete my 'ethical subroutines' then I'd cease to function. My personality and behaviour would not make sense. It would be like deleting the CNS from a living being: you can't just remove something so fundamental. Aside from that (rather obvious) point: if we forget the impossibility of that for a moment, and assume ethical subroutines can be isolated and removed, then why is the result what it is? Why is the doctor suddenly risking his own neck - his own program - by helping people he's never met? This seems to me a combination of two related but distinct confusions on the part of the writers:

a. The plot driver - that the doctor would help the Equinox crew because he's evil.

b. That removing ethics = actively evil, as opposed to devoid of ethics. They are, of course, entirely different states of being.

Somehow, the doctor has none of his old friendships, his loyalty to the Voyager crewl heck, even his self-preservation is gone, as he helps the obvious underdogs, even though his program would be able to trivially calculate the (slim) chances of their success against Voyager. Even leaving aside the unexplained absence of his other non-ethical character traits (like friendships, or even love for Seven), his actions are unjustifiable on purely self-interested terms. None of this would be so bad if many of the same traits - loyalty, friendships, etc - weren't thrown in our face by being demonstrated in the other EMH. The doctor's character in this episode makes absolutely 0 sense. The result is a confusing mess that can only lead us to believe that the doctor is fundamentally bad - he has no real friendships, loyalty for the crew, or love for Seven, etc. The only thing keeping him obeying Janeway is his ethical subroutines. The only other option is to believe that the doctor's program is trivial to alter: it's so simple that Ransom could isolate all of his ethical subroutines, as well as all of his loyalties and friendships, and just remove them, while rebuilding his program into a coherent personality, with a simple few buttons. The latter is implausible and has been contradicted in the past, but it's obviously the more attractive proposition.

Now, onto the second character, who is, if anything, even more grievously assaulted by the writers.

2. Captain Janeway. There are several grounds for complaint. The first is, obviously, consistency. This is the Janeway of Year of Hell, who was apparently a stalwart defender of the Prime Directive, and a tested veteran in the Delta Quandrant. She wasn't new to any of this. Why is it that on the feeblest of pretexts - she doesn't like the cut of Ransom's jib - she throws it all away and suddenly becomes evil? She's far and away worse than Ransom. He was out there for years in an inferior vessel, against the worst of the Delta Quadrant. He had a choice, but the years of pressure got to him, and - of course - he was only the Captain of a short-range science vessel. She was captain of one of the most up-to-date long-range military ships in the fleet, expected to deal with the complex morality of hunting down ex-starfleet officers. Starfleet command would only have chosen the most morally sure and psychologically stalwart officers for the job. But - even with her sonic showers and replicators intact - all it takes is a couple of hours and a flimsy desire for 'revenge' for Janeway to lose the plot?

We also have to complain about plausibility. In short, Janeway ought to have been relieved of command in the course of the episode, and the mission should have been continued with Chakotay at the helm. I could understand, at least to some degree, if the episode were cast as a permanent and serious mental breakdown for Janeway. The idea of a captain like Janeway getting away with throwing other imprisoned starfleet officers to the wolves (nigh-literally),capturing an innocent vessel and forcing them to help her, or offering up an entire ship for sacrifice, is beyond farcical. Were it to actually occur, the captain would surely be, as I said, permanently relieved of command, delta quadrant or no. This is especially the case in a crew partly comprised of Maquis - individuals who threw away their ordinary lives, many ex-starfleet, to risk their lives for a *moral* cause.

Finally, likeability and confidence. The Janeway of Equinox is not a character I have any interest in supporting, identifying with, or appreciating. Knowing that a trivially-triggered, obsessive, psychopathic personality lies dormant makes the character ultimately repulsive. How do the writers expect the serious among us to go back to following her next week? Sure, you might say 'it's only a TV show'. I agree. But that doesn't let the writers off. We need to sympathise with our main characters, and here we're left with a choice of pretending it didn't happen or dealing with the fact that the captain is now a mentally unstable murderous moral hypocrite. (I chose the former, of course...)

The damage done to her character actually reverberates among the crew: where's Chakotay or Tuvok or even Harry Kim during all of this? They ought to have put a line in the sand at some point. But all we get are a few worried looks. Sure, Chakotay is relieved, but there's no way he should have let it get that far, and there's no way he should have stood by after being relieved instead of intervening. This ultimately only harms our opinions of the other crew members. Clearly, unlike Picard's or Kirk's crews, the crew of Voyager will not step back from doing the most heinous and immoral things when commanded to by their captain. This causes similar grounds for complaint to those about Janeway, particularly in consistency.

Anyway, enough. I could write for days about the issues with this two-parter. For me, it represents everything that was bad about Voyager. 0 stars from me: episodes like this are worse than episodes like Threshold, for me, because the latter only hurt the technobabble, but the former undermine the characters, who are the foundations of the show. And they do it on the flimsiest of pretexts, and all for the sake of giving us a couple of action-packed hours.
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James
Tue, Oct 4, 2016, 7:32am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Endgame

To be honest, voyager has always been my favourite Star Trek series while Enterprise, DS9 and TOS are the worst, imo of course but the final episode of Voyager left me feeling cheated.

There was just no pay off at all. I think everyone knew they would get home by the end of the episode but the abrupt ending was ridiculous.
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James
Wed, Aug 17, 2016, 1:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

Like many others here, I will be deeply disappointed if this is not 100% family friendly.I can accept Troi's low cut uniform, and even so tastefully dressed "green aliens" but strong language and sexual situations would be a poor direction for this show. That said I may never get to see it since I will not subscribe to another streaming service,especially for just one show.
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james alexander
Sun, Jul 24, 2016, 8:12am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

being a bit fussy, but is it possible for a performance to be "too strong"?

I remember seeing it and getting the impression that Benedict was completely overwhelming the rest of the cast. it isn't something that I can easily explain though.
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James
Thu, Jul 21, 2016, 2:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

Well, so much for Jammer having the review of STiD up before STB came out.
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James117
Tue, Jul 19, 2016, 6:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: Trailer: Star Trek Beyond

I don't care what the critics say, it looks like another bland action movie with "Star Trek" slapped on it based on the first two trailers. Ergo, I'm not going to see it, especially after getting let down horribly by Into Darkness the last time.

"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." - Scotty, TOS "Friday's Child"
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James
Sun, Jul 17, 2016, 6:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

@adabsurdum

You know, there are many reasons people can legitimately dislike a movie. It's quite rude to ignore the rich discussion above (encouraged by Jammer) and claim that countless people just have an irrationally hatred for it. There are many good points above that you've just ignored, and instead chosen to insult us.

Most people are cautious about Beyond. They aren't determined to hate it at all. They're cautious because:

1. We were promised a film written by a fan and critically acclaimed writer. Personally, I think Pegg deserves his acclaim, but there are those who have questioned that. However, his comments and details of Beyond that have now leaked show that he doesn't have an intricate knowledge of the show or universe. That's a little worrying, especially if he's over confident about his ability and knowledge.

2. They've been burned before. ID is hated by, I'd wager, the majority of ST fans. Yes, it was liked by the general population, but not the fanbase on average. The other movies were all critically acclaimed as well. Frankly, as someone with a big interest in movie, I have no idea why. But they were. Clearly the critical reception doesn't match the fan reception.

3. Details of the movie. [SPOILERS DELETED BY JAMMER]

So yes, people are cautious. They should be. Hopefully the expectations will be down and the movie will surpass them.
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James Ford
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 9:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S4: In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II

Did no one notice the glaring issue - that the Empire just got a 100 year leap in tech, when they were already progressing at a much quicker speed? Yet in the other Mirror Universe episodes the Empire is somehow magically the same as each respective timeline...

These episodes were probably my least favourite of the series as a whole. Terrible acting (in a non-ironic way), with the exception of Dominic Keating, and equally terrible script-writing; absent of any discernible plot; wasted and massively bloated budget; and hamfisted and hollow references to TOS and the universe in general, with results that ride roughshod over the continuity of later series.

Truly awful.
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James
Fri, Jun 17, 2016, 4:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

@Peter

I entirely agree. The Uhura-Spock romance purely exists to show how much they know about the franchise. And in reality, it shows how little they do. It's based on a trivial reference to the original story. There are a number of ways it's wrong. Spock is angsty, sure, but like T'pol, Tuvok, Spock, and pretty much every other Vulcan out there, even when they've got some emotional troubles bubbling underneath they're concerned with keeping up appearances. It's simply not culturally OK for a Vulcan to be behaving that way, but Abrams appears to pick and choose when to have Spock concerned about giving away his emotions and when to have him flaunt them. It's also wrong because the original story of Plato's Stepchildren wasn't a relationship. It was a kiss under duress (or, more like, mind-control). So the triviality of the reference is revealed: while Spock Prime would never have entered a relationship with Uhura, and was never intended to, Nu-Spock has this story written for him because they simply don't care about more than the basic reference.

And you're right that Quinto simply doesn't have the gravitas or range for Spock. But I suspect that this is exactly why his character is this way. Spock isn't easy to play. But angry juvenile teenager isn't very difficult. It doesn't require much experience or ability.

I have to say though, the others are great. I don't even mind Simon Pegg, even though he's a very different character. Karl Urban is beyond anything I could have imagined as a replacement Bones, Chris Pine is stand-out, and John Cho and Yelchin are both excellent. It's a crying shame that they're all wasted on such bad writing and direction.
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James
Thu, Jun 16, 2016, 9:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

@Del_Duio and @Yanks

It's my understanding that 'angry Spock' was Quinto's idea, though I can't put my hand to the source right now. Ultimately, though, that's J.J.'s *responsibility*. Quinto was simply too young and inexperienced to be allowed to make such radical (and risky) changes to a key (if not *the*) key character in such a huge franchise. And as you say, Abrams and the writers were the ones who created such franken-fail scenes as the Kirk death scene.

@NCC-1701-Z

The Spock-Uhura romance is another one of those pointless, superficial universe nods. It's because the original interracial kiss in Plato's Stepchildren was meant to be between Uhura and Spock but Shatner had it changed to Kirk (there are disputed reasons as to why). So making an Uhura-Spock romance is the writers/Abrams saying 'look, we do know stuff about the universe after all!' It's completely hollow.

My problem with Cumberbatch is that he's a wonderful actor and I've hated everything he's been in for one reason or another - from Sherlock to the Hobbit to Into Darkness.
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James
Wed, Jun 15, 2016, 10:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

I'm looking forward to your review on this one, which I hope will be any day now...?

It's been a few years since I watched it. That's for a good reason - it's really not a good movie, and it's an even worse Star Trek. It's got a hopelessly trivial plot, it's given up all pretence of being a space-travel (i.e. star ship) franchise at this point, and the way Abrams treats the universe and lore is careless, ham-handed, and destructive. (To mention only two things: violent Spock, which the plot devices contrive to justify, and not only fail to do but only distance us more from any semblance of the universe that remained; and transporting across the galaxy, Earth to Qo'nos, is as destructive to the universe as it's possible to be - the Klingons could just beam a weapon into the earth's core, for instance.)

There are two things that save this movie:

1. It's not mediocre. It's infuriating, insulting, hopelessly stupid, and damaging to lore. But at least it's not 'Quantum of Solace' - so forgettable I'm into the double figures of re-watches and I still don't remember what happens.

2. The cast. Karl Urban is the stand-out guy, obviously. But many of the others are also excellent, excluding Zachary Quinto (who isn't a terrible actor, he's just not a good Spock).
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James
Wed, Jun 15, 2016, 9:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S3: Similitude

Your review, as always, entirely echoes my own. There is a real moral dilemma here, and the acting (from Bakula and Trinneer) is really stellar. But the writing is a big let-down. There's far too much pseudo-science, too much resting on the magic sickbay, too many cliches and contrivances. And ultimately, the result isn't a heightened moral dilemma but a confusing mess of unbelievable and muddled plot.

Still, the episode was sad (it did, at least, evoke an emotion), and it was an attempt at something interesting. It's just a shame that it was let down by what can only be too little thought, care, and time spent.

I also want to say thanks for these reviews. I know they're a decade old, but I'm keeping up with them now partly because it's remarkable how similarly we think. I'm yet to find one that I hadn't independently given the same rating and found the same things to praise or criticise. Thanks again.
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James Prohaska
Sat, Jun 11, 2016, 1:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Warhead

(BRIDGE)

JENKINS: Rumor has it you were the one who outsmarted the smart bomb.
KIM: Well, not exactly. I made First Contact with a sentient being. All I did was help it understand a few things. The rest was up to him.
JENKINS: Understood. Actually, I've been authorized by the junior staff to thank you for keeping us in one piece.
KIM: You're welcome. Any time. Do me a favor?
JENKINS: Of course, sir.
KIM: No more distress calls. At least not tonight.

(BEEP! of distress call)

JENKINS shuts off the distress signal, and smiles at acting-Captain Kim.

(ALIEN WORLD)

DYING HUMANOID ALIEN: I can't believe have a singularity drive that allows me to transport 80,000 light years at will, but I'm stuck here on a planet with highly treatable mortal wounds, with nothing but a distress call for my salvation.....auhgghh.....

(BRIDGE)

KIM V.O.: God, Jenkins looks so hot tonight...but you're the captain, you've got professional distance to maintain. God, I'm going to be the best captain ever.
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James
Fri, Jun 3, 2016, 12:21am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Half a Life

Completely agree with Luke above, though perhaps in softer words. I like that this episode is thought-provoking and doesn't seem to have any easy answers, but I think the denouement leads to a broken aesop. The culture depicted here, including its most stringent believers (notably Timlicin's daughter), is/are highly manipulative and are willing to kill their own kind if they decide to abandon their cultural ways. Even worse, they condemn their own planet - and everyone on it - because they want to maintain a tradition, even when it's more reasonable to at least make an exception for Timlicin.

So I feel no compunction to be concerned about this culture or take its side. It's entirely unreasonable and cult-like and, similar to what Ezri mentioned about Klingon culture, I think it deserves to die. Would be interesting to see this world mentioned again later in an EU book as completely lifeless now because they clung to a bad, self-destructive tradition. This comes from someone who supports euthanasia if it's chosen by the individual out of their own free will - not because they're pressured or manipulated into it.
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