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Popeye
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 4:51pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

All the so called continuity errors can be explained by timeline incursions esp. during temporal cold war st:ent

All the new tech comes from things Archer wrote about in his logs after encounters with future tech.

The Klingon faction also had their own agenda and no doubt caused changes within their own empire which Starfleet time division ignored due to it being irrelevant to the Federation. This could involve an attempt to erase the "human stain" from their gene pool which went strangely wrong and resulted in no hair.
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Plain Simple
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 11:38am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@LJ: "Thanks for the reply! What I meant with my comment about the Klingons is that they're showing a different group of them this time around, ones that are centred around religion and cults."

My impression (and I cannot reconstruct at this moment if that is purely based on what we have seen in the episodes or also what I've heard or read in other places) is that these 24 houses make up all of Klingon society, or at least the part of Klingon society that has any political influence. There was one episode where the big bad evil head honcho Klingon, whatever his name was, was addressing representatives of many of the other houses and all of them were of the new Klingon variety. So if it's the show intention that the Klingons we see are just one group out of many (in terms of general appearance), it is not doing a good job of bringing that across, despite having had very natural opportunities to do so. (Oh, and you're welcome... for the reply I mean. :-) )
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Peter G.
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 10:32am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@ Plain Simple

"Possibly a bit off-topic, but why do think there is ether, despite the fact that there doesn't seem to be any requirement for it in any of our current scientific theories (to the best of my knowledge)? "

The universe is expanding, and/or the ruler is shrinking, at an accelerated rate. The massive objects within it aren't the source of expansion, so something else is. The current buzz-word is 'dark energy', which is a pretentious way of saying "we have no idea." The simplest solution to me is that the main substance of the universe has properties we don't understand. Also, it would simplify a lot of quantum observations; for instance, quantum fluctuations wouldn't have to be seen as emerging 'from nowhere' if space itself was a fluid.
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Plain Simple
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 9:58am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@Hank

I didn't make any connection between the Klingons and Trump supporters, although I suppose it is a good sign if a fictional work is applicable to different real life situations for different people.


@Henson: "The real question we should be asking, I think, is this: if a non-Asian actor had played the role that Hoshi did as head of the empire, and a non-Asian actor had played the role that Georgiou takes as head of the empire, would people still try to make connections between those two characters?"

Excellent question. That's a difficult one to answer, as I cannot think of any similar situation within Trek where we have seen a (potentially) heriditary position being revisited in different series with different people filling those roles. Anyone?

My suspicion however is that the answer would be no, because of a mix of a very real and existent `soft racism' (as Andy called it above) or orientalism and the fact that the only in-cannon knowledge we have of the way the Terran Empire works is that new emperors come into power by overthrowing the previous emperor, just like any other position of authority in the empire seems to be 'handed down' the generations.

@Henson: "Or perhaps, this: if all the Star Trek series had been made in China with largely Chinese actors, would audiences try to link those same two non-Asian actors in the previous question?"

This is, in my mind, a somewhat less excellent question, since it presupposes some historical balance in the power relations between Eastern and Western cultures. Perhaps a more relevant question would be "if western cultures had endured many centuries of colonialism and other forms of explicitly or implicitly unbalanced power relations at the hands of eastern cultures, with all the (hard and soft) racism that comes along with those and all the Star Trek series had been made in China with largely Chinese actors, would audiences try to link those same two non-Asian actors in the previous question?"

My guess (and obviously this is a speculation even further removed from any kind of testable scenario) would be "yes".


@LJ: "In other words, they deliberately made these Klingons different, to subvert that Star Trek notion that basically dictates that when you've met one representative of an alien species (e.g., Worf), you've met all the members of that alien species, because they all look and act the same."

That would be a very interesting idea and I would like it if that were the case. There are two problems I can see with that. A minor problem would be that it would, if not require an explanation for, at least raise the question why we have never seen those other Klingons before, despite having had many dealings with Klingons, from warriors to politicians to scientists. A major objection to this interpretation is that DSC is in fact not showing a mix of differently looking Klingons. So far in DSC they all look the same (Voq's albinism excluded). If my understanding of the Klingon timeline is correct, at this time in Klingon history there should be a mix of TOS, TMP, and DSC Klingons around. It would be cool if they showed us that. Otherwise they're not showing diversity, but just another kind of monoculture (or mono-appearance).

And if they really did change the look to hide Voq's actors face, then surely there must've been other (better?) ways of doing it. What if Voq's face had been disfigured in an accident and the reason why he's an outcast is that he refused to kill himself after the accident as Klingon culture demands? They could've even tied this into his willingness to have his whole appearance changed, since his Klingon appearance is a constant reminder of his (in Klingon eyes) dishonour.


@Chrome

I wonder why they made Hoshi Japanese instead of Korean. I suddenly got this horrible notion that they might've made their (really really good) translator Japanese as a joke playing off the bad Japanese-to-English translations that would make their way into the west via electronics manuals and the like. I hope my notion is not true; it's based on nothing at all, except that I started wondering what the reason could have been for making Hoshi Japanese and the discussion here had driven my mind to ponder stereotypes. It's not like they did anything with her Japanese cultural background in ENT, did they?


@LJ: "Not exactly, since warp drive, as presented in Trek, relies entirely on the existence of subspace, which is an invented concept with no bases at all in real science."

Thanks. I thought warp drive was 'just' supposed to fold space (in the sense of general relativity; no subspace needed), but FTL communications went via subspace.

Still, my main point remains though. If tomorrow it was discovered that subspace *does* exist, then I can understand how that can potentially be used for travel (or communication). If tomorrow a giant universe spanning mushroom is discovered, I still don't know how that makes a starship instantenously jump between planets. Is it supposed to be some kind of transporter where the signals are sent via mushroom tendrils? I think in the early (earlier) days of DSC I saw some comment where someone speculated that this space mushroom is what connected all the Iconian gateways. That could be a fun connection between two fantasy technologies.


@Peter G.

Possibly a bit off-topic, but why do think there is ether, despite the fact that there doesn't seem to be any requirement for it in any of our current scientific theories (to the best of my knowledge)?


@Peter G.: "Could there be strange life out there? Sure. But supposing that the universe is tied together by spores is roughly on par with belief in the Force from Star Wars; in fact it's so close that it borders on copyright infringement."

Interesting comparison with the Force. I think we can take this analogy a bit further. Why did people hate the whole midichlorian business from the prequels so much? I suspect one reason is that it forced some ridiculous pseudo-scientific 'explanation' onto something that is basically magic. And even taken at face value, it doesn't explain anything. Even if there are midichlorians who can help people to tap into the Force, that still does not explain any or all the cool Forcy things that the Jedi can do. In the end it is still magic, only now it is magic plus pseudo-science. The spore drive at the moment feels the same, as I've elaborated on in my response to LJ above. Even if there is a space mushroom and Stamets takes a good sniff of its midichlorian spores, what does that do to help explain why the Discovery is jumping all over the universe(s)? Perhaps I just don't see the explanation, but as far as I know none has been given on screen. Perhaps some writer explained it in some ancillary material?



@Latex Zebra: "I sometimes feel that people forget that TV can be about switching off and going with the flow rather than switching on an analyzing the **** out of every minute detail..."

TV can be about many things and if you want to switch off and go with the flow, you can. If other people want to think about it more and get something valuable out of discussions afterwards ---whether that is simple enjoyment, a deeper understanding of the show, or perhaps even one of those "meaningful lessons" Star Trek is supposed to be famous for--- can they not also do that? I'm honestly always a bit suprised by people who go to a discussion board (about whichever topic) and then are surprised (or perhaps even concerned) that they find people discussing the topic at hand.


@Andy: "Um, you don't get it. To your eyes they may look similar or the "same race" (whatever that is supposed to mean) but they are not related at all, nor do they look related in any way."

Good point which I failed to make in my response above!


>>I really recommend watching "USS Callister" from Black Mirror if you want to better understand the hate and bile in this comment section.

Where you see "hate and bile", I mostly see a civilized discussion between people that hold different opinions. In fact, a quick search for the word "hate" on this page, only shows a few people talking about other people in terms of "haters", one person mentioning they no longer hate the show, and one mention of Klingon society hating Voq. Now, of course there might still be an undercurrent of "hate", even if it is not explicitly mentioned, but I'm not feeling it.


@Henson: "Would you prefer a state of affairs where John Cho is told he can't play Sulu because he isn't Japanese?"

That is a different situation. First of all this is only relevant of course in cases where someone plays an already established character with an established nationality. Despite Hollywood's current craze of remakes, I still think that is probably the vast minority of roles out there. Secondly, we are not necessarily talking here about an actor playing someone with a different nationality than the actor's (like an Englishman playing a French character say... that would never happen on Trek); the initial issue I brought up was more about the tendency which many western people have ---and which may or may not have been at the root of the Hoshi/Georgiou suggestions which people have made--- to view all Asian (or East Asian) cultures as the same.

@Henson: "Merriam Webster: "a category of humankind that shares certain distinctive physical traits" . I might add the word 'cross-continental' myself, for its most common understanding."

Race is a complicated concept, which definitely deserves a discussion (but not one I want to get into here and now). Suffice to say that it is mostly a cultural concept and there is very little (if any at all) biological basis for it.


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Prince of Space
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 3:21am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: The Voyager Conspiracy

Well hey, lookie there!

After reading Jammer’s review and then the comments for each episode, I then read Memory Alpha’s blurb about it, followed by lastly the The Cynic’s Corner review. And Jammer got a shout-out from the Cynic on this episode!

“Jammer’s too positive...” hahaha ... er, no offense, Cynic; but next to you Stalin appears too positive.

And no offense, Jammer... but his reviews are way funnier. ;-)
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Peter G.
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 12:05am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@ LJ,

It's easy to confuse which parts of Trek of totally made-up and which are closer to being theoretically possible, and which are in the hazy middle which 'could' exist but we have no reason to expect for now. TOS, TNG and the rest have each had their share of each, but I think it's lazy to lump everything together and just surmise that Trek 'science' has always been nonsense. I firmly do not believe that to be the case. But there are exceptions: the transporter is a blatantly made-up idea whose original purpose was just to avoid using models for landing; it was a budget issue in TOS. Based on what we know today that tech should be impossible, hence the 'Heisenberg Compensators.' Naturally that became the signature tech of the series, but there are many other aspects of it that make far more sense. We had a discussion about this recently in another thread and I don't want to rehash all of it, but suffice to say that the warp drive idea contains a mix of the possible, the probably, and the very unlikely. Matter/antimatter as a power source is highly probable for future use; note that the matter/antimatter energy has nothing to do with warp drive, it's just the power source for the ship. Using crystals to channel charged particle? Theoretically possible, and highly likely in some way, shape, or form. Other options include containment fields (which the Enterprise also uses), or some other non-reactive chamber. Of course the benefit of the crystals is the lattice structure, which perhaps we'll be able to re-create in novel ways, so that while we may not use crystals per se it might end up being some artificial structure that uses the molecular arrangement to channel particles, but that's close enough to count for me.

Then you have the 'warp bubble', which heck if I know what it really does. So that's not something I can address.

But getting to subspace, which does seem necessarily as a premise in Trek, it's not without theoretical backing. Previous to Einstein physicists regularly referred to the "ether" as being the medium through which EM waves traveled, as they surmised (perhaps correctly) that all waves require a medium. By the 30's it had been concluded that whether or not there's an ether normal mechanics measurements could be made even while ignoring it, so it was deemed superfluous as a concept, which *isn't the same* as stating that there is no ether (which there may be). In fact I think there is one, but that's no matter. The point is that if 'space' was in fact not empty space but rather a substance of some kind, then of course a corollary of that would be that this substance must exist against some backdrop, i.e. that there must be some kind of reality behind the ether; some structure, or even just a rule-set. We could easily enough just call that something 'subspace'. Why not? All we'd need to do is to suppose that the light speed limit is determined by the ether, and that in order to bypass it we'd need to bushwhack through the ether or part it like the Red Sea or something. If it really is a 'something' then surely it can be manipulated. So no, I would definitely say that subspace is a safe sci-fi concept insofar as it certainly could exist, and there's certainly no reason to suppose that it doesn't, provided there really is an ether. And if there is no ether, I might add, it would be most curious that bozons such as photons would all obey some strange principle causing their speed to always be fixed, neither faster nor slower. The most likely candidate as far as I can tell to govern their uniformity ought to be some principle about how their propagate, which surely must be related to that in which they propagate.

But enough about fun theorizing, the main point some are trying to make isn't that there are prominent theories out there hypothesizing the existence of subspace; of course there aren't. But it's one thing to imagine something that surely could exist and in fact would make total sense if it did, and quite another to suppose a sci-fi concept that beggars belief and actually sounds ridiculous. I do believe the argument being made is that the spore network is neither likely, nor suggested by any conceivable reasoning, nor would it even make sense to us to suppose that such a thing exists, and it certainly doesn't make any sense to suppose that spores are some kind of basic building block of reality. It's not just far-fetched, it's simply ridiculous. Could there be strange life out there? Sure. But supposing that the universe is tied together by spores is roughly on par with belief in the Force from Star Wars; in fact it's so close that it borders on copyright infringement. But I really do think that this concept is much closer to a fantasy premise than sci-fi. Most sci-fi isn't supposed to be 'real science' anyhow, but it's quite another thing to introduce what is basically magic and call it science. Frankly I think that's not only sloppy, but gives people a very bad impression of *what kinds* of concepts can be called scientific.
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peet
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 10:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: The Arsenal of Freedom

I like the resemblance of the robot weapons to the "M-4" robots from Requiem for Methuselah, as well as resembling a tiny version of Nomad, as well as to a fancy electric razor.

Vincent Schiavelli, the actor that played the salesman was a great character actor and it was great to see him cast here.

I kind of love that the answer to the riddle is ridiculously simple, but it seems more like extortion than a hard sell!
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Plain Simple
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 5:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@Peter G.

Haha, no that wasn't an actual quote. Sorry for being misleading. Stamets' talk of palaces coupled with his trip to the Mushroom Kingdom just made me think of the "princess" line.

@the people who mentioned that the new Klingon look was chosen to hide the Voq actor's identity.

Do you have a source for that or is that just your guess?

By the way, I do find it somewhat ironic that T'kuvma and Voq are so concerned with "staying Klingon" while they seem to be doing nothing of the sort in a wider Trek context.

@Henson

I think you are missing the point. Do you think if a non-Asian actor had played the Emperor, people would be suggesting they would be a descendant from Hoshi? Why not? Why would a Chinese Malaysian be more likely to be a descendant (only a few generations apart) from a Korean (or Japanese, if that is what Hoshi was supposed to be) than, say, a Russian or an Australian?

@the spore drive discussion

I sorta kinda appreciate what the writers were going for. Where the 20th century is often called the century of physics, with major breakthroughs like relativity theory and quantum mechanics, the 21st century is described (possibly prematurely, although understandably) as the century of biology. So I think the writers might have wanted to tie 21st century Treknology into that idea. But the way they've gone about it is about as good as Trek always was with biology: horrible, mostly (...all the nonsense Trek has done with DNA over the years...).

One difference between warp drive or transporters on the one hand and the spore drive on the other, is that the former, while not (currently) possible, at least present a mechanism for doing what they're supposed to be doing. If tomorrow we wake up to a world where warp drive is invented, then I understand why that would allow us to travel over large distances. If tomorrow, however, we wake up and find out that a giant mushroom spans all of the universe, I still don't have any idea how that would allow us to travel instantaneously to other planets.

@speculators

Oh, we need speculation, right? Here goes. Lorca is actually MU Lorca who ended up in the other universe, destroyed his counterpart ship and all, and sought out Burnham because she has shown to stand up to Georgiou (who is in Lorca's way in the MU). If Lorca survives, I assume MU Lorca somehow gets assimilated into the Discovery crew for real for season 2, although it gets hard to imagine how the MU can be kept a secret the more and the more sustained interactions there are between the universes or characters from the different universes.

@WTBA

I don't think people find the reveals both shocking *and* predictable. I think most appearances of the word shocking have appeared in quotation marks, in most cases probably indicating its use to be sarcastic.
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Jasper
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 4:00pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Rules of Engagement

Man, I really hated this episode. Boring as hell. Overacting by Sisko to the max. Worf being used like that, like a prop. Inconsequential, predictable and with plot holes. 1.5 stars and nothing more. And what is up with that stupid ship's bell on a space station?
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Peter Swinkels
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 3:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Omega Glory

...okay, eternal youth, US flag, religion (attempting to convince others Spock is the devil)? Obviously an attempt to criticize them. The episode is too difficult to follow, so I don’t know what to think. Where did those “aliens” get that flag, Bible, and other stuff any way?
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Pandapirate
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 2:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

a summary I found on google for the book Mycelium Running

This book is a manual for the mycological rescue of the planet. Setting the stage for the mycorestoration revolution, Mycelium Running unveils new methods for growing mushrooms, generating mycelium, and implanting mushroom colonies into the environment. Capitalizing on the digestive power of mycelium, this pioneering book shows how to strengthen sustainability of habitats while providing a multitude of biological benefits. Based upon the premise that habitats and humans (animals) have immune systems, and that mushrooms are the beneficial bridges for both, Mycelium Running marks the dawn of a new era: the use of mycelial membranes for ecological health. Linking mushroom cultivation, permaculture, ecoforestry, bioremediation and soil enhancement, Stamets makes the case that mushroom farms can be reinvented as healing arts centers, steering ecological evolution for the benefit of humans living in harmony with its inhabitants. Four components of mycorestoration are described in detail:
•Mycofiltration: the filtration of biological and chemical pathogens as well as controlling erosion
•Mycoforestry and mycogardening: the use of mycelium for companion cultivation for the benefit and protection of plants.
•Mycoremediation: the use of mycelium for decomposing toxic wastes and pollutants.
•Mycopesticides: the use of mycelium for attracting and controlling insect populations.

The newly updated version contains more pages, more full-color photos, and new information on a wide variety of mycological topics, including:
•Prototaxites, a giant fungus dotting the landscapes of Earth and was the tallest organism on land 420 million years ago
•The role of oxalic acid and calcium oxalates in sequestering carbon dioxide and building the carbon bank
•Psathyrella aquatica nom. prov., the first underwater mushroom
•Gamma radiation fueling the metabolism of fungi analogous to light energizing plants
•New information on antimicrobial properties of mushrooms


How does this relate to the spore drive?







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Peter Swinkels
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 2:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Omega Glory

Okay, after 14 minutes I can barely follow what’s going on. Given the fact that the review essentially says this episode is incoherent I am going to assume that it’s not me missing something. Curious to see where this episode will go...
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Peter G.
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 2:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@ Plain Simple,

"Don't enter the palace! Our princess is in another castle."

Wait, is this an actual quote? And you're right, at the end of this episode he appears in a Mushroom Kingdom. Are the writers seriously making a Super Mario Brothers reference here? Oh man, Star Trek has been reduced to a pop culture pun.
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peet
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 2:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Encounter at Farpoint

I remember being SO excited for this show to be on the air after I heard it was in development. I remember being so thirsty for more Star Trek that I was willing to consume and claim to love just about anything that adequately bore the name. That appetite for more was so strong I was willing to endure a certain level of denial about how bad much of it was. It was "Elementary My Dear Data" and "The Measure of a Man" in S2 that finally got me sighing with relief that it was finally a show worthy of my faith. I'm so glad they finally ironed out the kinks and gave us some truly memorable TV.
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Plain Simple
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 12:37pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

Since this is my first comment on the DSC threads here since the show started, I'll first give some thoughts on this particular episode, before giving some more general thoughts on the show so far. (Long post alert!)

This episode had some things I liked and quite a few things I didn't particularly care for. The best thing for me were the scenes between Tilly and Saru. No, not the beyond stupid fungus nonsense technobabble, but the bit where we saw something that we hardly ever see on this show (I think the pilot episodes on the Shenzhou had some scenes like this as well, but I cannot remember many more after that; perhaps some in "Magic to Make the Sanest Man go Mad"?): two professionals using their expertise to work together and solve a problem while interacting in a friendly, respectful, unforced-by-plot manner. Now, it was a brief blink-and-you-miss it moment, but it was in there at some point and I appreciated it.

Other nice parts: good acting from Isaacs at the end in the conversation between Lorca and Michael; interesting use of mirror Sarek (I sure hope they'll follow up on this: he now knows about the prime universe); fun to see Andorians and Tellarites; Michelle Yeoh is back (I was sad to see her go in the opening episodes; her portrayal of Georgiou was a highlight of those episodes for me).

Unfortunately there were also a number of things I didn't particularly care for, starting right at the beginning with the interminably long uninspired opening monologue. The intention is good: the mirror universe is changing Burnham. Interesting premise! But please show it through acting, not by blandly reciting a boink-boink-on-the-head expository speech.

The scene between Tyler/Voq (T'Voq? Vyler? Toq? Vyloq? Tuvix?) and Burnham was also long and uninteresting and left me not caring about any of it (and actually hoping on some level that Burnham would execute Voq; mirror Voq seems much more interesting than prime Voq). Most people (at least those taking the time to go and discuss the show on internet message boards) seemed to have guessed/suspected that Tyler was Voq around the first or second episode that had Tyler in it, and even those who didn't, surely must have realized it last week. So why still draw out the 'reveal' to such lengths? Instead do something interesting with it... which they didn't. It was only used as a plot point to get the data to the Discovery. (And I wasn't at all clear on that plot point... why could Tilly and Saru get their hologram onto the Shenzhou, but they couldn't get the data off? And how come the Discovery was so close by that they could beam Tyler aboard? I'm willing to entertain the notion that Burnham found some time between Tyler being arrested and 'executed' to slipp off and send a message to the Discovery, but shouldn't the Shenzhou have ... uhmm... discovered the Discovery coming into close enough range for a beam out? Could they hide the ship somewhere? A line to this effect would've been nice, but it would've spoiled the surprise rescue of Voq, I suppose.)

Oh, and more Klingon gore and boobs in flashbacks... Why? What's the point? These things are completely out of place and don't seem to serve any narrative purpose. We've already been told and shown over and over and over again that Tyler was tortured/operated on and that he's been raped by (from Tyler's pov) or has been sleeping with (from Voq's pov) L'rell. Why show it again? There is definitely a place for gore and sex in some stories, but this isn't it. It's all done so hamfisted.

And how about Stamets? Did anybody think he died? Was there any suspense there? This show only kills minorities, not white males... Not yet anyway. His arc is moving too slowly and as result I don't particularly care much about it. Half the time I forget it's still part of the story. Perhaps if something interesting were to happen with his arc; something more than just magic mushroom trips. I'm guessing he was meeting mirror Stamets at the end who has also entered the Mushroom Kingdom from the mirror universe side? (I'm guessing that's what all his warnings were about last time: Don't enter the palace! Our princess is in another castle.) And it actually was mirror Stamets which we saw way back when in Stamets' mirror?

So, Tilly believes in an afterlive (Tilly to Stamets' seemingly lifeless body, paraphrased: "wherever you are, I hope you are with him"). Is that foreshadowing of Culber showing up in the Mushroom Kingdom as well or is it otherwise going to be some important plot point, or is this just unimaginative shorthand writing for "Tilly is grieving" and we don't know how to convey that without platitudes?

This episode (and in that aspect it is a good reflection of the whole series) is an odd beast. There is potential, there are some parts I like, and sometimes (like Frakes' episode last week) it's edited in a way that keeps the pace up and keeps me entertained during the episode. But I mostly come out feeling nothing for the characters and caring very little about the plot and its 'shocking revalations'. Who didn't see coming that Georgiou would be emperor? I'm happy to see her, because I liked her in the opening episodes, but it's not this big revelation that the episode apparently wants us to think it is. By the way, I keep seeing comments here about people wanting mirror Georgiou to be a descendant of Empress Hoshi... seriously? Why? Because they're both Asian? Michelle Yeoh is Malaysian from Chinese descent and Linda Park is Korean. That's about as nonsensical as saying "Shatner is from Québec and Bakula is from Missouri, so I think Kirk is a descendant from Archer." Not to mention that in-universe it seems very unlikely that one dynasty stays in power for so long in a society where it seems anyone in a position of authority gets killed by one of their underlings about every other week.

So, what about the series as a whole then? I can approach it in two ways: as a Star Trek show or as its own entity. The show doesn't seem to know what it wants to be and so I cannot make up my mind as a viewer either.

Let's first talk about the show "as a Star Trek show". The main question that raises for me is "why did they set it in the time period they chose?" I can think of four ways so far in which they have used this particular setting in time:

(1) The Klingon war. I guess that's supposed to be the biggie, the main reason why we have DSC take place 10 years before TOS? The only problem with that for me is that the Klingons don't feel like Klingons. Besides some generic "grrr! warrior's honor!" characterization, these Klingons don't seem like any Klingons we've met before, either in culture, behavior, or (obviously) appearance. (I won't complain too much about their appearance, as that's been done to death by others, but they honestly remind me more of the Turok-Han from Buffy the Vampire Slayer than of either TOS or Motion Picture style Klingons). Speaking of culture... weren't we promised a deeper look into Klingon culture? Perhaps that's still coming, because so far we haven't really seen anything of Klingon culture, except that they are apparently all willing to follow whomever yells loudest.

(As an aside: according to the first episode of "After Trek" apparently T'Kuvma bringing back the teachings of Kahless is what changed the Klingons' mind about the death bodies being empty shells... which doesn't explain why that belief was still present in TNG era Klingons. And speaking of After Trek... I've only seen one or two episodes. Has it improved? I found it a really quite annoying show.)

And apparently Klingons are organised into 24 houses that are all interchangeable unless the story requires us to turn one house into a monoculture (the house that L'Rell came from consisted of deceivers or something). But I digress... whether or not I like how they are portraying the Klingons, it seems to me they have done nothing that could not have been done with a newly invented race set in a different time period.

(2) Harry Mudd. Again, was there any reason to use Mudd in the episodes in which we've seen him? He seemed rather out of character compared to the TOS Mudd and besides the Stella stuff at the end of "Magic ..." I can't think of anything that required that character to be Mudd. He could've been any newly invented character.

(3) The mirror universe. I suppose they needed a pre-DS9 mirror universe, to have a Terran Empire to play with. Unless the MU arc is going to become an integral part of the rest of the series, it seems to be a big commitment to set the whole show in this time period just for the sake of a few MU stories. And they could've always done some timey wimey stuff along the same lines as what made the Defiant show up in the ENT-time MU if they needed post-Nemesis PU characters to end up in pre-TOS MU.

(4) Sarek. This one is similar to Mudd, although I can see a bit more justification here. "Lethe" would have lacked most of its emotional resonance if Sarek had been any random Vulcan instead of Spock's dad, but in all his other appearances so far he could've been "random Vulcan" without changing anything in the plot or characterization. This could change of course if Sarek remains a major supporting character and more is done with him later in the series.

The question then is, do these four points (so far) weigh heavy enough to set the show in this time period and load up on the seemingly inevitable continuity issues that follow from this choice: how come no one has ever heard of the spore drive in later Trek series? how come Starfleet (or at least Kirk) wasn't aware of the MU, despite the fact that Discovery has visited it (and presumably will make its way back to the PU) and the ISS Discovery is roaming the PU? what's up with the Klingons (besides being more in line with the whole Abrams-like visual style of the show)? what's up with the holograms (which seem to be there just to look cool)?

Of course the writers can explain away any and all these continuity issues if they wanted to. Perhaps they will, perhaps they won't, but the question remains if setting the show in this time period was worth inviting in all these issues. Here's my solution (partly tongue-in-cheek, although I wouldn't mind if it actually happened to turn out somewhat like this): at the end of the current MU arc, the Discovery will use the Magic Mushroom Trip Drive (which they name in honour of Charles Tucker III) to get back to their own universe, but something goes wrong and they end up in ... the prime universe. And we discover that what we thought was the PU all this time was actually the Kelvin verse. And then we get normal Klingons in season 2. ;-) (Although it wouldn't explain why the MU Klingons are also of the weird kind.)

Okay, enough continuity nerding. What about DSC as a show in itself? Forget it's Trek, what do we think of it as its own thing? For my part so far the answer to that question is: it's entertaining, and I do appreciate the attempt to do something different (although it's mostly different from a Trek pov, not necessarily from a general TV series pov), but it's nowhere near the level of some other modern shows that I've enjoyed in recent years. The characters just don't become real for me. The emotional connection is missing. As someone earlier in this thread (or possibly in last week's thread) already pointed out: there is almost no character interaction that feels like genuine interaction between people instead of a driver of plot. That's why, at the top of this very long post, I said how much I liked certain aspects of the Saru-Tilly interaction this week. Some of it, despite being related to the plot, felt actually like two people talking at work. I hope Discovery can improve on this front, because then it can become a much better show to me.

I partly blame the running time. Is it my imagination or are DSC episodes significantly shorter than TNG era Trek episodes? Those extra minutes is where you can put in some character interactions. Show people being together for a reason that is not "tech the tech so we can plot the plot" or "I love you so we can plot the plot" or "I'm intentionally vague and mysterious so we do not yet need to plot the plot".

Another contributor to the perceived shallowness of some of the characters is the fact that some characters (mostly Lorca and also Stamets and up until this episode Tyler to some degree) are more presented as "mysteries" than as "characters". Which is a shame. Those things can go hand in hand, but keeping characterizations vague just to preserve mystery is not the way to go about it. That might work for a supporting character, but not for a main character.

The show is still holding my interest for now and for as long as an episode lasts I am entertained, but I notice that afterwards I am not thinking about any meaningful themes or ideas the episode presented, or any emotionally engaging character work, but I am wondering about all the missed opportunities and odd choices that were made. At least the broad strokes of the plot are interesting (even if they're hard to fit into the Trekverse), so I am interested in continuing watching and enjoying the show for what it is so far. But I feel I can be a lot more than it currently is if the production can manage to get the show to a point where it 'clicks'. Just because it took TNG and ENT a few years to get to their high points, doesn't mean this show needs to start off below par. There are plenty of shows out there that come out of the gate swinging.








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Peter G.
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 10:28am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@ philadlj,

"It's high time Tilly got a receive a field commission of ensign."

Tell that to Harry Kim.
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philadlj
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 10:27am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

It's high time Tilly got a receive a field commission of ensign.
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Paulus Marius
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 1:45am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@Troy G:
"For anyone who cares, I don't readily compare Discovery to previous Trek series. I compare it to the recent JJ Abrams Trek films. I find DSC to be more satisfying."

Yes, agreed, +1000000

Got a real charge out of this episode. Very satisfying.

Also, the music was outstanding.


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Warp10Lizard
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 1:25am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Unimatrix Zero, Part II

Just to be clear, my last post was NOT directed at you Jammer. Just some other people on this board. (I really wish we could edit posts here...)
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Warp10Lizard
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 1:24am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Unimatrix Zero, Part II

I'm sure it's been said by others, but it can't hurt to hear it once more:

JANEWAY, TORRES AND TUVOK WERE NOT REALLY ASSIMILATED.

That is why they didn't have the psychological damage that Picard and Seven of Nine had. Janeway DISGUISED as a drone; she never had her mind stripped away and she wasn't forced to commit horrible acts.
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Peter G.
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 10:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@ Shannon,

I do not believe by any means there are "more of you" than of people who object to various things in the show. My observation here is that it seems split roughly 50/50, and elsewhere I really can't say.

"Lisa Randolph wrote a very human script that explores how our characters are dealing with the beyond strenuous, dangerous situation in which they find themselves"

Really? Which characters are being explored through the scripting in this situation? Burnham, yes, and Lorca I suppose, since he's being tortured. Saru seems fine, Tilly seems better than fine (i.e. in better form than normal), Stamets isn't really a character right now, Culber is "dead"...so who's left? It appears to me that the exploration of 'characters' is really just more Burnham material. And to be frank I'm not even sure how they're exploring it, i.e., how she's changing. She *says* she's changing, but I have no idea what that means since I don't see any change. Even the one real change they could have gone for - an execution - turns out to be a cheat and it's the same old Burnham.

A couple of other points:

"One wrong move and death would be assured, so watching these characters navigating this proverbial mind field was very entertaining."

Yes, the twists in the story seem to be attractive to many viewers.

"And I love how they brought back Michelle Yeoh as the savage emperor. Looking forward to next week."

An example of one of these plot twists.

"As for Tyler/Voq, now that we know the secret (something we all suspected), I'm very curious where they take the character."

And yet another page-turner plot twist. From the sound of it, what you like about this show is that it's LOST in space. That's exactly what many people didn't want, which is a cut/paste of another series with its same design bible and manner of storytelling and just superimposed in a Trek setting. You know, exactly the same thing they did with Star Trek: Beyond, where the studio demanded a generic action film with Trek characters inserted. That's what many people feel we have here. Not saying you shouldn't enjoy it, but don't act all indignant when people would rather watch real Trek than LOST or Fringe. Those are what they are, and I even somewhat liked both, but Trek should never use that template.


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Paul B.
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 9:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

Fairly workmanlike episode that mostly just tied together loose ends. 2.5/4. Nothing terrible, but nothing stunning.

I do like thinking about the fact that, of all people in the universes, however, Ash Tyler is probably the only person who does not have a mirror version anywhere. Voq does, of course, but not Tyler.
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discentropy
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 5:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Despite Yourself

@Jammer,

A few days ago, I was reading your review of the final episode of Voyager, and this remark caught my attention:

"Ultimately, the overall biggest problem with "Endgame" is that no one pays a price for Voyager getting home, despite all the questionable means exploited to get there. There's a lot of talk about how getting home is not the most important thing about Voyager's existence. Indeed, one of the story's key turning points comes when Harry — yes, Harry — makes a "rousing" speech in the conference room about how Voyager's mission is the journey and not the destination. Unfortunately, coming from Harry, I found this speech laughably portentous. It's also not very true. Voyager has always been about the destination, because the journey has usually been contrived for the sake of easier entertainment value."

Your criticism was made in the context of a larger criticism about the show's being a series of one-off, self-contained episodes, where there are no consequences, where there is no continuity, and where characters do whatever the jerry-rigged plot of the week require them to do.

I've liked Discovery very much, on the whole, but find it interesting how the serialized format does not necessarily erase the problems in Voyager's storytelling.

While Voyager's "destination" - overriding focus - was always getting the ship back home, with the little moments that made up the journey scattered into overplotted, underwritten story pieces that never mesged, Discovery's "destination" is also a problem: It is whatever "gotcha" or twist moment the show wants to spring on us (Voq's identity reveal, for example) so that we'll be awed in the moment...

Characterization and character motivation, week in and week out, vary in accordance with the immediate need to deliver big on one of these "Bang" moments.

The problem with structuring a show that really is made up of a series of mini-arcs, each leading to its own "Wow, What a Great Moment That Was!" is that you've made it harder for yourself to just slow things down (kind of like when Nicholas Meyer, after hearing Ricardo Montalban's first line readings as Khan, told him, "You're letting them see your top. Never let them see your top.")

The min-arc structure (which is also on Game of Thrones) encourages this kind of roller-coaster approach to storytelling.

Voyager should have been more about the journey than the destination. Discovery should find a way to be more about the journey than the turning of the screws on us while we ride the bus.

Possible solution (easier said than done): settle for something in between complete serialization and complete one-offs. Battlestar Galactica did somewhat well in this regard; it had an overarching arc but in between the grand moments characters talked about things that did not immediately further the demands of the plot.

Discovery has shown it is capable of finding some kind of balance ("Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad"); I hope it tries again.
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Filip
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 4:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

I didn't think I would ever write this after all the horrid episodes from the first half of S1, but... I actually kinda liked this one. Still not very hopeful about the future of the show thought. Let me explain.

First, the good stuff. (Wow, this is the first as well I think)

I thought Michael's soliloquy at the beginning pretty decent and a good use of the MU setting to explore the issues of identity and choices we make. I really do hope they develop it further because it is a fair nod to the ethos of the previous shows that this one desperately needs. I am also glad that the entire deal with Voq is finally out in the open and can now be further developed. I remember saying that if it turned out Tyler was actually Voq I would quit watching the show, but I have to admit here that it wasn't half bad in the execution by being a play on, again, question of identity. It wasn't the best either as there was an opportunity to dwell more on the subject, but seeing how I was actually pleased with the revelation it was too late in the show for that anyway. The characterization of MU Voq wasn't bad either, and he seemed more of a character that his real counterpart ever was. Like @Karl Zimmerman said in a comment above me, he wasn't an over the top twisted version only the MU could provide, but rather a similar version to the "original" albeit with significantly different realizations of the ideas they both share. The final resolution with Tyler/Voq and Saru's take on it was a great wrap up to Michael's opening soliloquy that rounded the episode in a satisfying manner on that front.

The problems.
Given that the MU here is used as an actually plot element in terms of developing characters and overall plot of the show is risky business given that all previous appearances of the MU were containted to single to two-parter episodes and the characters venturing into it from the original universe were already very well established personas. MU's over the top character worked in previous incarnations because by the following week's episode it would remain exactly that and wouldn't spill all over the show which is what could happen right here which is courting disaster, both for the character development and the show in general (which, despite all the positives stated in this review, I still regard as disastrous). Even though the problem of the show's time frame is not as painfully obvious as it was in some of its previous episodes (all of them), it still shows, namely in the scenes with the rebels that felt rushed. I get what Michael was trying do to (or to put it this way, what the writers were trying to do through Michael), but all her questions were piling on top of eacher other in a very rushed and inorganic manner. Fortunately, it didn't botch the scene completely, but what it did was show us a great missed opportunity. The same goes for the revelation of Tyler's underlying persona. Since the writers managed to maneuver an idiotic situation into a compelling narrative, it is a shame to see it resolved in such a hurried manner.

That being said, I am eager to see the next week's episode, but the burning question remains - in which direction is the show going to continue once we return to the prime universe? Because, by what we've seen so far of it, the MU seems like a much better place to be.

P.S. Enough with the spores already. sheesh.
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Peter G.
Mon, Jan 15, 2018, 12:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@ wolfstar,

"The credit goes to writer Lisa Randolph"

So that's the perpetrator behind "She's an unspeakably deep well of human compassion" and other such gems.

"the presence of Andorians and Tellarites as an Enterprise callback was also welcome and realized effectively and understatedly."

You mean a TOS callback, right? ;)

@ Ed,

"Voq's mental conditioning obviously went wrong. The show has been very consistent about this. L'Rell is clearly aware of it."

Yes, but once he attacks Voq the directing and writing make it clear that the struggle is over and he's Voq now. He tells Burnham point blank that he can no longer feel any trace of Tyler and is entirely Voq. They make a point to show his face go blank as he transforms finally into Voq before attacking Burnham. So maybe there's a case that he was still unhinged on the planet, but in Burnham's quarters, no, that's just us seeing what a simpleton Voq is. Even when he's arrested he seems to think he's accomplished something. What a fool.

PS, I should comment on something I neglected in my initial review, which is - why is there a need for this show to include material that belongs in films like Event Horizon or Seven? It's one thing to have adult themes and morally grey characters, but straight-up slasher gore and disgusting images? This not only has no place on Trek, but it makes it impossible for families to show this to their children. Just how stupid are the producers to think that making a Trek series rated R is a good thing? I suppose we could argue the same about Tarantino's proposal to write a Trek film, but at least parents would know in advance to leave the kiddies out of it.
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