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Jason R.
Tue, May 23, 2017, 5:51am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part I

RMM I think it safe to say that Picard would never voluntarily remind anyone of the Borg incident.

But it is a little curious that Jellico never mentions it in passing, given that it's almost certainly a central item in Riker's CV.

Indeed, if I may speculate a little outside the four corners of the story, I think that Riker would have to be something of a celebrity in Starfleet due to his defeating the Borg. Knowing what I know about Jellico, his disdain for Riker could be driven by a degree of professional jealosy, which would be made worse by Riker's loose obeisance to Starfleet protocal and his personal charisma.

In other words, Jellico may perceive Riker as someone who feels above the chain of command (and the rules) who feels his special status gives him license to do his own thing.

As I said it is speculative but certainly plausible given what we know about Riker and Jellico.
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Jason R.
Wed, May 17, 2017, 4:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Basics, Part I

I love how Chakotay can just conjure his dead father instantaneously with a sprinkle of a few herbs. He can then just have this totally rational, lucid conversation with dad's ghost. Truly natives are magical people, even in the 24th century.
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Jason R.
Wed, May 17, 2017, 12:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Beyond

Chrome nothing would please me more than for them to make another Abrams Trek movie. It can be the Batman and Robin to Beyond's Batman Forever. Tabula rasa.
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Jason R.
Wed, May 17, 2017, 8:00am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Beyond

"Sadly the box office reflects how bad STID was. Sure STID did well in the box office, but people went to watch it based on 09, which was pretty good. They didn't see Beyond because of "fool me once".

Definitely top 3 of trek movies, along with voyage home and first contact, probably just ahead of generations, insurrection and search for Spock. Top marks and then some to Simon Pegg"

The bad movie apologist ever searches for external reasons to explain why said bad movie did poorly. To quote a much better scifi movie, the truth points to itself.

Beyond didn't do poorly because STID was a bad movie. It did poorly because it was a hollow, stupid film that represented the final lobodomization of Trek that started with ST2009.

If one asks what the difference between Beyond and some of the lesser Trek cinematic outings was - let me quote Captain Louvois: does it [nu Trek] have a soul? The answer is clear. Trek's failures are still remembered, sometimes even fondly, by the fans. Beyond will be utterly forgotten, as will all of Abrams' contemptible movies.

I for one am grateful for Beyond. Better to press the pillow over the face of Abrams Trek now, to extinguish it so that the soil can rest and recuperate - and maybe be fertile for new growth one day.
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Jason R.
Tue, May 16, 2017, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Q Who

A question I have is so what if the Borg became aware of the Federation? Why would that even matter to the Borg? Consider that throughout TNG and later Voyager we learn that the galaxy is teeming with life. There are Federations and empires big and small. What made the Federation such a tempting target?

I also found the plot detail about the destroyed Romulan and Federation bases curious. If the Borg already assimilated a Federation base, wouldn't that mean they already knew about earth and the Federation before Q Who?
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Jason R.
Sat, May 13, 2017, 6:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The First Duty

The decision to change Locarno into Paris for Voyager seems almost... spiteful. Like they just couldn't bring themselves to throw fans the smallest bone. The character was "irredeemable"? What poppycock. They could redeem a psychopathic killer (Sueter) but sure, the guy who lied about a botched training accident is beyond redemption. Boooo!

I understand them wanting to pursue a more episodic feel for Voyager and not to go down the DS9 road of having a grand soap opera. But the problem is that it was antithetical to Voyager's premise to make it episodic and pretty much ruined it from the getgo. This small decision to spit on series continuity turned out to be an omen of things to come.
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Jason R.
Sat, May 13, 2017, 3:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Sarek

Is it crazy that Sarek would have this type? I suppose not. Illogical, but not crazy. Sort of like if Worf fell in love with another Trill.

But where is he finding these human women willing to devote their lives to him? I think Raveena illustrated pretty well how unlikely it is a woman would seek out such a lifestyle. So we're left with the assumption that Sarek caught lightning in a bottle twice.

I suppose it's not wrong from a plot standpoint. But for me it just feels like they needed Sarek to have a wife and a human one, couldn't make the math work with the original wife, so they manufactured a new identical one as a plot contrivance. It makes Mrs. Sarek seem, shall we say, disposable.
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Jason R.
Sat, May 13, 2017, 9:47am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Sarek

Ravenna remember this is Sarek's second human wife. I actually had to look that up the first time because I naturally assumed that she was Spock's human mother - until I did the math and realized she'd have to be 120 or something for that to be true.

Which makes it even better - when the old devoted human female croaks he just goes and gets a newer model to replace her. You'd think bridging the cultural gulf and finding companionship with an alien woman would be something special, maybe even once in a lifetime. But for Sarek I guess it's no bigger a deal than checking the "human" box on his Vulcan Tinder App.
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Jason R.
Fri, May 5, 2017, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

"But Star Trek isn't a contemporary drama. When it is "talky", it is talky about universal humanistic themes which should work equally well in China and Europe as they do in America. "

I do think there's a bit of naivete in that comment. I am not saying that a theme can't be universal but how the theme is presented to the audience (and the cultural context in which it sits) is never culture neutral. I don't care if it's spaceships and aliens, or if the whole cast is in Klingon makeup - you always can tell when a movie is from a different culture, regardless of dubbing or subtitles.

Dialog heavy movies increase the chance that you are going to alienate a foreign audience. Action by contrast is easy, especially with cgi heavy scenes.
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Jason R.
Fri, May 5, 2017, 6:29am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

"I can't think of a more depressing reason to sell the soul of Trek. Selling out just because they're greedy may not be nice, but selling out because they think that "the entire world except the US of A is stupid" is a million times worse. Yuck. "

Omicron I believe the point was not that talky shows don't do well internationally because foreigners are stupid. I think the issue is that even with translations a show like the Good Wife is never going to be anything but an American legal drama anchored to a very American context and suited to American tastes.

Ever watched a Korean legal drama? I have. I enjoyed it but the subtitles did not change the fact that it was coming from a very different context from what I was used to and non Koreans would not necessarily get the cultural context.

The beauty of "action adventure" is it's easier to market to an international non English speaking audience. Look at movies like the recent Fate of the Furious. That's the future right there. Multicultural United Nations cast; action adventure story; probably not alot of dialog. 1 Billion in international revenue (so far) and highest grossing film ever in China.
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Jason R.
Mon, May 1, 2017, 5:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Vanishing Point

I found it just boring. In Realm of Fear Barclay is at least an interesting character but Hoshi is just... Boring.

As an aside has anyone in Star Trek ever wondered if consciousness survives the trip through the matter transporter? Could it be that every time one goes through the person on the other side isn't really you but just a clone? I only ask because that would be MY fear going through a transporter.

I even sort of thought that Hoshi was experiencibg a variation of that psychiatric condition where a person thinks that everyone around them is an imposter, even themselves.

Those would be some neat ideas for a follow up to Realm of Fear. But I guess not. Instead we get a dream - and a boring one.
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Jason R.
Mon, May 1, 2017, 2:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Yesterday's Enterprise

As an aside, if Tasha had lived to 90 and died of a stroke, would that too have been "meaningless"? Does everyone who does not die in battle or deliberately sacrifice themselves for some noble cause (ie. 99.9999% of the population) die a "meaningless" death? As I see it being murdered by an evil puddle of goo is no less arbitrary and meaningless than any other kind of death from heart disease to earthquake to transporter accident. I'd call the contrary view rather nihilistic to be honest.
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Jason R.
Mon, May 1, 2017, 2:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Yesterday's Enterprise

I take issue with the idea that Tasha died a "meaningless" death.

Life (and death) are given meaning by the character of the person and the ideals they pursue, (and how they are remembered) not by the random chance and happenstance of how they died.

Incidentally, Yar's death did absolutely help her crew. But for her death, Armis would undoubtedly have killed someone else in her place. She quite literally died to save the life of one of her crewmates.
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Jason R.
Fri, Apr 28, 2017, 9:19am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Sanctuary

It occurred to me Peter that there was a huge missed opportunity here and an easy way to fix the basic flaw of the episode: The Prophets. Imagine if they were worshippers of the Prophets too and may even have received orbs. That is hardly implausible either - the wormhole has two sides, doesn't it? What if the Prophets told the Kreeans to seek out Bajor?

I think the idea of a long lost twin sister to the Bajoran civilization, connected by a shared religion, also recovering from a recent history of slavery, would have been a powerful element in the episode. That would have not only justified the Skreean claim on Bajor (in a way the Bajorans could not lightly dismiss) but also illuminated the idea of how scarred the Bajorans had become by the occupation, incapable of charity even for the sake of their Gods and a sibling civilization in need.

I also think it would have been fascinating to explore the idea of the Prophets influencing other worlds, even in the Gamma quadrant. That might have made a more fascinating "discovery" and a hell of a twist rather than wasting time on the universal translator or dwelling on the Skreean's matriarchal culture.
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Jason R.
Fri, Apr 28, 2017, 7:46am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Sanctuary

Let me say that I think the Skreeans being rude, ugly, rowdy or whatever others have pointed out is a feature of the episode, not a flaw. They are refugees who were recently slaves. Of course they are going to be uncouth, even offensive in some respects.

The comparison with the Jews is apt but I think the ancient Israelites are a better comparison than post holocaust Europeans. Exodus describes that they were made to wander 40 years in the dessert. As it was always explained to me, this was for good reason - the slaves needed to die out, not just physically but their slave culture as well. Slaves are not suited to freedom as the Skreeans demonstrated in their misadventures on the station.

Getting back to the original point, compassion for kind, meek, inoffensive people who look and behave like you is basically a given. It is easy, natural, and consequently not worth very much. Showing real compassion by taking in a group of rowdy offensive refugees, ex slaves, that's not natural - and that's why a character like O'Paka would not have turned her back on the Skreeans. But of course O'Paka is gone by this point in the series.

So I am not objecting to the charactization of the Skreeans with their offputting matriarchal chauvinism or their poor social graces - that part was bang on. The audience *should* dislike them - that is entirely correct and intentional.

Where the episode drops the ball is in (as others noted) the total lack of context to the Skreeans' claim on Bajor. We are given precisely zero background to this. Did the Skreeans previously live on Bajor? Did their God promise the planet to them? Could the Prophets have sent them an orb that revealed the planet to them?

It is not simply that the belief is implausible to us or to the Bajorans, which is a given anyway - but we are given no basis to understand why even the Skreeans believe this, let alone care about Bajor. So it comes across as just tacked on for the sake of plot. It is arbitrary and simply not believable as it is portrayed. Other than in one line of dialog from the Skreean matriarch do any of the other Skreeans even mention Kintana, let alone show the slughtest intetest in it?

Finally, the ready availability of a perfectly good planet renders the Bajoran choice almost a given - it nullifies the moral dillema for them and robs the Skreeans of sympathy. The Skreeans don't want to live on Draymar 2. Well okay, why not? What does that male Skreean think is waiting for him on Bajor that is so much better than Draymar 2? Again it just comes across as arbitrary. The Skreeans are shown as feeling unwelcome and uncomfortable on the station - so why would they think Bajor was going to be an imorovement?

Overall a good concept with a botched ececution. 2 stars is bang on.
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Jason R.
Tue, Apr 25, 2017, 11:35am (UTC -5)
Re: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Well Peter what is there to say except she was part of the rebel alliance (and a traitor). It was pretty much the first thing Vader said to her. I don't see any real continuity problem here. Of course she'd claim consular immunity or some shit. Why wouldn't she?
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Jason R.
Tue, Apr 25, 2017, 5:56am (UTC -5)
Re: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Baron I am with you - no idea where this alleged continuity breach is supposed to occur. Leah's ship breaks off the main ship after Vader decapitates everyone onboard (as is shown in Rogue One) then presumably jumps to hyperspace and gets run down a day or two later by Vader at Tatooine. Easy peasy.
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Jason R.
Fri, Apr 21, 2017, 5:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The City on the Edge of Forever

In her bizarre scifi speech to the homeless men at the outset I half expected her to turn to the camera and say the opening Star Trek prologue "and we will boldly go..." just ludicrous. Why does she behave more like an alien than Spock.
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Jason R.
Mon, Apr 17, 2017, 4:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

"And of course, we revisit Mustafar and discover that Vader decided to build his castle at the very place he lost not only his wife and mentor, but also his own body. A way to keep his anger and hate properly fueled. "

Is that fire planet Mustafar? Based on Force Awakens in particular, it seems Disney has an antipathy toward significant continuity with the prequels. Remember the desert planet that wasn't Tatooine and the city planet with a Senate that wasn't Coruscant?
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Jason R.
Sun, Apr 16, 2017, 9:04am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Ethics

Tara I find your distinction between Worf's decision to kill himself for cultural reasons and that of some of your human patients (for other, perhaps equally valid reasons) arbitrary. Why does culture trump but not, say, a considered choice based on personal values.

Yes Worf is a Klingon but as Peter noted there are some human cultures that endorse suicide in certain circumstances. If you encountered a patient with that culture would you be be fine with him telling you he planned to off himself in accordance with his culture?

Yes, as a doctor you aren't bound to enforce criminal law as a matter of course, but I'll wager whatever medical association that grants you your license, not to mention the hospital or clinic you work in have regulations about this sort of thing that you are bound to follow and if someone announces this intention, regardless of his cultural background, there are procedures to follow that probably begin with some kind of temporary involuntary commital. The alternative is you could risk being sued by the family of the individual I imagine.

Even in assisted suicide / euthenasia friendly jurisdictions I am pretty sure some kind of psychiatric evaluation is needed before you can just hand someone a dagger and say good luck.

Picard was hardly a certified expert in Klingon culture, nor was Beverly. But regardless, even if she had to concede she would be unable to prevent Worf's suicide in the long run because of his culture (I do think it is fair to say her threat to lock Worf up forever was a bluff) that did not require her to violate her medical ethics by turning Worf into a guinea pig for some half baked expiremental procedure. The Hippocratic oath still applied regardless of Worf's values.

Correct me if I'm wrong Tara, but as a medical doctor you can't just roll the dice on a patient's life with unproven dangerous experimental procedures, even if the patient's prognosis is poor or no other good alternatives exist.
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Jason R.
Wed, Apr 12, 2017, 5:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Homeward

As an aside Tom it is interesting that you mention foreign aid to developing countries because one of the biggest obstacles these groups face is how to help without causing unintended consequenes that make things worse, not better. I will agree that the colonialists in the era of the Portugese and Spanish had less than pure intentions, yet there was also a real motivation to civilize (as they saw it) and do good that went horribly wrong. Even now money and aid we funnel to poorer nations too often gets scooped up by local powers or feeds corruption, doing more harm than good at times.
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Jason R.
Wed, Apr 12, 2017, 5:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Homeward

Tom the justification is protecting the Federation and its people from the corruption that inevitably arises in such circumstances of extreme inequality. The danger of this kind of interaction between beings of greater power with those of lesser power was explored back in TOS with episodes like Where No One Has Gone Before and even with the Cardassian / Bajor situation. In Who Watches the Watchers there was a very quick jump to thinking Picard was a God. In TOS that was always a very very bad situation for all involved.

I started out thinking as you do but as I think of it more, I feel more convinced that this is a valid concern and the PD was a real safeguard.
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Jason R.
Tue, Apr 11, 2017, 11:32am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

It is a very Judeo Christian outlook to presume that any "god" is necessarily omnipotent and the creator of the universe or else false (by definition).

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Jason R.
Mon, Apr 10, 2017, 5:53am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

One thing I was thinking about in retrospect was whether or not the probe builders gave Picard an idealized picture of their civilization, manipulated him with a rosy family life - basically a fantasy. You think about stories like The Matrix and The Truman Show or even Generations with the Nexus, about simulated realities and people struggling to find truth even in circumstances where the fantasy may be pleasant and truth may be painful.

So was Picard bamboozled by a fantasy? Wouldn't a man like him have struggled to escape rather than live a life he must have known (deep down) was fraudulent? Did Picard swallow the blue pill?

I don't have the answer, but my sense is that the probe could only have worked the way it did on a man like Picard - without significant family, (seeing Robert once every 20 yrs doesn't count!) without children, really bereft of deep human connection in his life. The probe gave Picard something he never knew he needed or wanted, but that he was starving for.
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Jason R.
Fri, Apr 7, 2017, 7:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Squire of Gothos

"Anyway, this time through, having watched the rest of Star Trek canon with me, my wife was apt to point out the similarities with Trelane and Q. Like Q, (in his 2nd appearance), Trelane is dressed as a French Military commander facinated by Napoleonic Era France. Also, later he plays the part of a Judge. I thought these were pretty good observations. "

There was a Peter David book as I recall called "Q Squared" that had Trelane as an infant member of the Q Continuum.

After having re-watched this episode, I too enjoyed it more than I expected. William Campbell really imbues the Trelane character with a combination of childish exuberance, petulance and creepy menace that yields a really compelling performance. I actually prefer him to Delancy as Q, at least in the early appearances in STNG season 1. The story in this case is nothing special, but I do enjoy watching this character in action, even if there is little else compelling about the episode.
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