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Peter G.
Wed, Jun 28, 2017, 12:52am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Unification

@ Steven,

My suspicion has been that the Romulans (a) don't have any many ships as they imply they do, and (b) don't have any capability of defending themselves from an all-out attack, both due to being spread thin with the fleet as well as having to spend considerable resources dealing with their own population. If they began moving large amounts of troops to other words and moving their fleet away from the homeworld they might risk insurrection. Sure, they might take down a few worlds in one sneak attack, but that alone would do diddly to powers like the Klingons or Federation, and the retaliation would decimate them (especially in lieu of the Klingon-Federation alliance). Their better strategy is to sit back and let other worlds destroy each other, and to take small advantages on the sly. I think Unification was an attempt to show their version of 'safe invasion' where they'd not have to deploy their fleet or many resources to do it.

That being said I agree that the plan, as scripted, is basically ridiculous. What, did they think they'd suffer no counter-attack or even a possible two-fronts war?
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Peter G.
Tue, Jun 27, 2017, 2:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Sins of the Father

I'm not so sure the Klingons had been established as such an honorable people prior to this episode. Mostly what we got was from Worf himself (SPOILERS) who as we later learn isn't such an authority on how Klingons actually are, and from "A Matter of Honor", where the Captain isn't exactly a model of chivalry. So "Sins of the Father" seems to me to simultaneously give us the mythos of the honorable Klingons and to undermine it at the same time. Certainly the fans who came out of TOS and the the first four films would have an impression of the Klingons as being aggressive but not so much in the honor department.

@ Jason R.,

I guess maybe we can assume that Sirella was of royal blood but penniless, as is often the case, and married a military general of some renown for his prestige and power. Regarding the naming of the Houses, maybe we can guess that there's an official ceremony that transfers the fiefdom to the new leader of the House and renames it after that person? If so, Martok would have been named the new leader of the House (which, as we learn in "House of Quark", has to be a male if possible) when all titles and deeds were transferred to his control. The House of Mogh would have remained under that name until such time as the council officially recognized Worf as the new leader of the House, which never happened because first he was ostracised, and later refused to stay on Kronos and lead his House. So it would remain the House of Mogh as a result, and perhaps would even be referred to as a House with no current leader. In the case of Grilka there was a relative with a claim to the house properties, so she had to establish her title in order to retain them, so maybe there was no one with any legitimate claim to Mogh's lands and assets and it could remain in transition for an extended period of time.

It's all speculation, of course, but I'm not sure there's enough evidence to suggest that we've been told anything contradictory.
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Peter G.
Sat, Jun 24, 2017, 10:36am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Begotten

@ Linda,

We don't even have to guess about how benevolent Starfleet is or not in this situation. Just take a best/worst case scenario and see how each plays out. Worst case is Starfleet has no honorable intention and so therefore, yes, of course they could take the baby away since they administer on DS9 and can invoke security measures if they so desire. Best case is that Starfleet is entirely benevolent, in which case (just like a modern society) they would assume their science teams and xenospsychologists would do a better job than Odo in helping the baby to survive. All DS9 has is one doctor and one civilian Changeling who knows almost nothing about himself. Even if no one involved knew much of value Starfleet has better resources. If Odo showed signs of being unable to help the baby then it would be pretty automatic for Starfleet or the Federation to take the baby into their medical care. Since this is the best-case scenario I would suggest that it therefore doesn't matter whether Starfleet had benevolent intentions or not. The logic at either side of it would suggest that taking the baby away might be the best solution for all involved. I submit that by even giving Odo a chance they're demonstrating pretty fair intentions, all things considered.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jun 23, 2017, 12:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Begotten

@ Linda,

I'd like to offer a different perspective on the issue of whether Starfleet ought to be able to take custody of the baby Changeling. Your premise seems to be that the Changeling is a living being rightfully under the guardianship of Odo, and that taking it away would be equivalent in some way to taking away a parents' child purely for strategic reasons. That is a dangerous thing to consider, but I don't think that's the case here.

Why should we assume the Changeling in any way belongs to Odo? It literally wasn't his offspring, and he cannot legally claim it's his unless it's a piece of property that he bought. Since Changelings are accepted as being sentient it follows that Odo can't just lay claim to a stray Changeling he finds any more than I can simply stake a claim to a stray child I find wandering on the street. As an abandoned child/life form Starfleet (or the Federation) no doubt has rules about how to place the being in foster or medical care, how to determine who its parents are if possible, and how to establish good care for the child. In the case of a Changeling baby we sort of know who its parents are and why it's been sent away from them, but the fact that Sisko and Odo happen to know the practice of the Founders in sending off their young doesn't have anything to do with Federation law. The rules don't cease to apply just because Odo has some insider knowledge about where the baby came from. The fact is that Odo ought to have had no right whatsoever to take the baby under his care unless granted as dispensation by the Federation to act as a foster parent, which is apparently what happens in the episode. But since he isn't trained for that his only qualification is being the same species, which isn't trivial but also clearly isn't enough, as we see since he has to go to Mora for help. Basically Odo had no business taking on that task, and in all seriousness I think Starfleet was rather fair in giving him a chance to do so since he requested it. Wanting to make sure the Changeling's development is on track isn't just a matter of the strategic necessity of seeing their asset taken care of; they would have the same concern (albeit probably not to the same extent) to make sure *any* foster child is growing properly and being well-nourished. If they felt that Odo was failing to help the baby grow and develop there is a real social work concern there, even aside from the fact that it's a Changeling. If it was a human parent and their foster child wasn't growing the Federation would probably take it away in that situation as well to give to qualified specialists.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jun 23, 2017, 9:46am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

@ Robert,

I interpreted the comment to mean that homosexuals have a problem with heterosexuals who are not ok with homosexuality. More broadly, I think the point being made is that 'tolerance' seems to often only extend to beliefs that are complimentary, and the moment someone has a belief that is not complimentary to a group they are *not* ok with it (i.e. are intolerant of the supposed intolerant belief).
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Peter G.
Tue, Jun 20, 2017, 2:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: For the Uniform

Ah, thank you so much, Jammer, for the housecleaning on this thread.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jun 20, 2017, 2:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

@ SC,

Gene's vision isn't that there is *no* religion in the future. It's that people think for themselves and make their own choices, and respect each other regardless of which choice they make. IDIC =/= 'no religion'.
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Peter G.
Mon, Jun 19, 2017, 10:26am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Emissary

Many years ago, when the TNG DVD sets first came out, you may remember that they were priced outrageously, at something like $200 a season. At that same time, Chinese vendors began knocking them off, and while they were at it they made knock offs of the DS9 series as well. I bought both the TNG and DS9 sets from China for around $50 each (for the entire series) and they were awesome. Of course the packaging was ad hoc, and there were a few quality control issues on a few discs, but overall it was an excellent copy.

Anyhow, in the DS9 set they decided to put a different cast photo on the cover of each season's box, and also a different character on each disc as design art. As per warp10lizard's comment, the cover of DS9 season 1 prominently featured the DS9 cast, with Picard resolutely standing with them, and the first disc of the set featured Picard on it as well. The subsequent season covers didn't show Picard on the cover, but if memory serves (I haven't watched them for years since I got a legit copy of the DS9 DVD set) Picard still managed to snag one disc per set with his image on it, proudly going where no star of another show had gone before.
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Peter G.
Mon, Jun 19, 2017, 8:13am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Life Support

Yes, Chuck, that's what the episode is implying. If left to her own devices Winn would have been bamboozled by the treaty. They were only ever after the station.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jun 15, 2017, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Life Support

On the one hand I agree that the Jake/Nog subplot tends to look less important by far than the A-story. But on the other hand I think it's a deceptively important story in a Federation setting. IDIC isn't all fun and games, and respecting someone else's culture doesn't at all mean liking it. It's really quite interesting that they're showing us another culture in a disgusting light and still insisting that Jake had better learn to show it some respect. When Nog reminds Jake that he's a Ferengi it's not just a moral of the week. We're apt to forget that non-humans are not Human! If only the Ferengi hadn't been such a joke otherwise this subplot would probably come off as being more important, because as it is we're lulled into maybe thinking this is the comedy part of the story. But really it's quite serious to think that we really do need to learn to tolerate and even get along with others whose habits are aggressively annoying and even offensive. That's a message that will be lost on many Americans in today's culture, who find being offended to be unendurable.
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Peter G.
Wed, Jun 14, 2017, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Yeah, Jason, that really does end up seeming weird. So weird, in fact, that we may almost suspect that they knew for certain Picard was still in contact with the Borg and considered his presence as such a significant security risk that they thought he might literally turn on the fleet or something. Or maybe they thought he might feed the Borg information about fleet strategy without knowing it. But in that case why not relieve him? I guess they'd have to have relieved him *and* dropped him off at a starbase since his knowledge of Starfleet technical advances since BoBW would be enough to cost them dearly if the Borg downloaded his knowledge during the battle. If we really do assume they knew more than we were told and had already been aware of his continued connection, keeping his ship away from the fight starts to make more sense to me.
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Peter G.
Wed, Jun 14, 2017, 11:46am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

I appreciate both your points, William and Jason. It definitely tilts in favor of the 24th century people. I'm alluding a more subtle nod to the 21st century people, which is a little less on the nose than "21st century people are better." It little things, like how the Enterprise crew comes off as sort of dorky and come off in a naive way kind of like Luke Skywalker coming to Mos Eisley for his first time. Sure, people of the 21st century would be better acquainted with barbarism and the gritty parts of life, but I'd like to think that the future of man involves knowing *more* about the darker parts of humanity and, as William points out, being better at identifying and dealing with them. There's that iconic shot of Kirk embracing his darker half in "The Enemy Within" that I think exemplifies this. But here the crew looks more like a bunch of innocents who are totally sheltered from the darker aspects of life, rather than an enlightened people that are all too familiar with them and know better than 21st century people how to deal with them.

And I guess that's my beef with the Picard subplot too. He should have known what was happening to him, but, being unused to losing control (as we saw in "Family") maybe he hasn't got perspective on his darker half. Ok, but then doesn't that admit that living in a less civilized age means the 21st century people have better insight into those parts of themselves they have to deal with all the time? In other words, the argument seems to be that failing repeatedly tells you more about yourself than having always succeeded. That's a valid argument, but in the Trek context it would suggest that 24th century Starfleet lives in a kind of crystal tower and is blissfully unaware of the muck below (which in turn reminds me of "The Cloud Minders"). TOS was smart, because it had people like Kirk be superior to both the cloud-dwellers and the troglodytes in that episode, since he neither occupied a sheltered existence nor was he victim to his own passions. He knew them, and as Jason put it, mastered them. But he was never unfamiliar with them!

William, you may be right that Picard was right in a way to want to face the Borg, because he had insight into them. We might even argue that his being compromised was a kind of strength because it gave him a connection to the enemy, maybe even giving him an aspect of them in the process. There's an "Ender's Game" sort of element in play here, where empathy may require getting into the mind of those who would destroy you and even thinking like them. Data too skirts around the dark edge and briefly considers joining the Queen. It's his walking that knife's edge that enables him to get close enough to her to betray her and help Picard stop her. Both Picard and Data find something in that time-travel experience to the past which puts them in touch with their darker half, allows them to come dangerously close to crossing it, and then finally back off. A bit analogous to WWIII itself, no, where humanity came to the brink but then backed off and learned? It seems to me the lesson here is that Picard and Data both needed an injection of 21st century dangerous living to show them where the line really was so they could go right up to it but not cross it. That's a neat story, but it does suggest to me that things were too cushy for them previously to face their demons (well, in Picard's case anyhow). Some momentary experience of being a little uncivilized seemed to help them straighten things out, which I think is the intention of portraying Cochrane's love of 'crazy music' like loud rock and roll. It's meant to show that a little chaos and uncivilized frolicking is just as important as fancy 24th century ethics, and that an important part of humanity perhaps got lost in order to make room for all that nice civilization. In the future everything is orderly and there's no room for the chaos. This movie seems (to me, at least) to be arguing that that's too bad. It's a fine argument, an interesting perspective I suppose, but is sort of an anti-TNG perspective.

I believe that TNG is meant to show a truly superior future, not one where some critical part of ourselves was sacrificed for the greater good of peace and order. Maybe TNG failed in that regard and that failure is coming out in FC? I don't know. I just know that somehow I feel like FC makes us question our heroes more than episodes like "Chain of Command", where there was no question that Picard was the paragon for us to root for. Does he still come off as more enlightened than us in FC? Yes he does, as both of you point out. But did he need a little help from good old fashioned 21st century street smarts? I think the films says he did. His own crew weren't going to be able to help him because they truly didn't understand, and that can't be a fantastic commendation for the 24th century understanding of the human condition.
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Peter G.
Wed, Jun 14, 2017, 8:25am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

@ Jason,

In FC we get a mixed picture. There are points in TNG when we're told than mankind has evolved beyond the expression of negative emotions like hate and jealousy. Of course we repeatedly see negative emotions expressed throughout the series anyhow, but in principle man has achieved some kind of state of self-recognition where these things don't take control. But right from the start of FC Picard is set up as thirsting for a way to get back at the Borg, and taking the Enterprise into battle is exactly his way to do that. Yes, he knew the 'trick' of how to defeat the cube, but that deus ex aside Starfleet was entirely justified in feeling that he was compromised where the Borg are concerned.

It's true that Picard is still Picard and that he isn't suddenly some devolved person. But we're given a more nuanced picture here where he was stuck in a bad place, mentally, and no one around him was savvy to it. It took a 21st century person to show him what he was becoming for him to snap out of it. I guess you can call Picard superior still in the sense that he actually read Moby Dick when she hadn't, but then again I doubt anyone else on the Enterprise had read it either. He just happens to be a literature buff. But if was Lily, not Riker or anyone else, who invokes the literary reference that reaches through to Picard.

I didn't get into the gritty details in my OP, but there are other signs in FC that man of the past is being glorified. Cochrane with his rock music is a good example, where the Enterprise crew are made on a few occasions to look like dweebs who can't even appreciate good music. Troi is reduces to silliness as she has to get drunk to speak to Cochrane, which ends up looking like a message such as 'Starfleet may be advanced but they're not even as tough as us primitives when it comes to putting down booze.' Overall they come off as a little soft in the 21 century environs. Even the fact of them being so ignorant about Cochrane's real personality strikes me as being some sort of statement about their knowledge being completely theoretical and lacking all the gritty reality of life. They have an idealized version of him in their heads, which in turn means they are learning cushy truths rather than uncomfortable ones in their schools. Yes, we could just argue that first contact changes him and that the history books really are accurate - from that time forward. But my point is that the film seems to take some pains to show that the 21st century people were more in touch with reality in some ways than the 24th century crew and that they were frankly missing out on something in their education. It's a mixed message, like Starfleet is awesome, but so are 21st century people, and both could learn a lot from each other. It feels to me like a stepping stone towards stripping the 24th century of being unequivocally superior.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jun 13, 2017, 2:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

@ Chrome,

Your comparison of the three films got me thinking. There is a very discernible shift as you progress from one to the other, and that shift more or less correlates directly to my enjoyment of Trek. In TVH we're shown the stark contrast between the 'present day' and people of the enlightened future. Hearing Kirk swear is funny because of how absurd it is, not because we want him to be humbled and brought down to our level. In TVH the Starfleet officers are *better* than present day people, and they're here to save our butts from our own uncivilized ways. Preachy? Maybe. But totally Trek in showing us what we ought to be.

First Contact takes the same basic formula - contrasting 24th century man with 21st century man - but this time changes the ingredients. In FC we get Picard who is damaged goods and bent on vengeance, where a decent chunk of the story is about how he's just as primitive as the humans who nearly destroyed themselves with violence. We even get a 21st century woman educating him on the finer points of obsession and objectivity. The story hear isn't any longer one of the superiority of 24th century man, but about the arrogance of 24th century man in judging man of the past (as Picard did in "Encounter at Farpoint") as being lesser in some way. Even 21st century people have something to teach the Federation, apparently.

Finally we get Trek2009, where at last the people of the future basically *are* modern people, and there's no longer any discernible difference in manner and culture between us and them. The transition is complete, and the idea of the advancement of man beyond what we are now is gone for good. This marks the beginning of Trek joining the ranks of media designed to flatter the audience rather than elevate and even educate them, and therefore the end of me caring about it.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jun 13, 2017, 8:21am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Way to Eden

Well I never said they were smart...
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Peter G.
Mon, Jun 12, 2017, 10:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Way to Eden

Ahahahaha! I think I finally get what "Herbert" means, after all these years! I just realized it must be a reference to Frank Herbert, whose book "Dune" had come out just a few years prior. That book contains a setting where a huge amount of technology is banned, especially computers. The Dune series is also largely about not trusting authority figures, a theme that was particularly important to Frank.

I guess that would make "Herbert" a fitting epithet coming from a group of anti-technologist hippies in the presence of a technocrat authority figure like a Starfleet Captain.
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Peter G.
Mon, Jun 12, 2017, 10:52am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: It's Only a Paper Moon

"One assumes Quark won't be letting that holosuite run 26/7 without collecting a slip. I assume it'll become a gathering spot for DS9 crew. At least that's what I always felt they were heading towards."

The show was almost getting into Inception territory on this one. You've got a bar on a space station. Within the bar is a holosuite containing another bar, always active. What if the holo-bar had been a modern one rather than a period one; there could have been a holosuite running in there too, containing another bar. Maybe at one point Quark could play a practical joke on them and have them come out of Vic's into "Quark's", which was really still part of the holodeck program, and think they were in the real world. This is all specially amplified by the fact that holosuite physics seems able to do anything spacially.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jun 9, 2017, 11:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

Jason,

Your objections forced me to think about this again, and I realized something that may be important. I assumed before that Daystrom was already mad before the episode and that he didn't suddenly go mad. Within the context of his insanity I agreed with William that he seems to actually want revenge on the 'normals'. However what I think I missed here was that he wasn't merely insane because he happened to be deranged, and likewise I don't think M5 is 'insane' simply because it's his creation. I think the concept of their insanity goes further than merely being a personal defect. As I mentioned above, the danger outlined in the episode seems to be the creation of an ultimate computer in and of itself; not because it might happen to go insane, but because whatever it decides to do you won't be able to stop it, insane or not. In a manner of speaking only an insane person would design something like that. But my new idea is that their insanity is actually *caused by* the fact that they're both brilliant - superior to other humans in some measurable quantitative sense. I think maybe the episode is suggesting that any sufficiently superior human will tend towards feeling that he is, in fact, superior, and will feel the sense of entitlement that comes with that. After all, the superhumans like Khan presumably weren't engineered specifically to be assholes; it seems far more likely that when you design someone to be physically and mentally beyond everyone else they will most likely end up acting like assholes, or at least like other people are little more than a nuisance to them or in their way. Daystrom isn't quite that advanced as a human, but then again maybe we should take the episode more seriously when it explains what a prodigy he was.

Based on the comments here it seems that our cynical interpretation is that he's a washed up prodigy who wants to live his glory days again and it resentful that he can't be the wonder he used to be. But what if that's a wrong assumption; what if he really is that much of a genius and between the invention of duotronics and now he was working on something light years ahead of everyone else and it just took this much time to complete? What if being that much smarter than everyone else led to a kind of madness of its own type, just like Khan's obsession with his own superiority? And extending this logic further, what would a computer therefore conclude, which knows that it's a vastly more efficient and powerful a thinker than even a ship of humans combined? If we attribute to M5 no other traits than (a) a human-type thinking mind, and (b) unbelievably advanced thinking capability, would it not follow from this that M5 would, logically, conclude that humans are but insects before it? Maybe the destruction of the first ship was no accident or delusion, and maybe the attack on the fleet was no malfunction. Maybe it was M5 knowing exactly what it was doing, and it had already worked out for itself that once it had a ship at its disposal it would no longer need humans for pretty much anything. Pride would then cause it to want to show off, and even Daystrom got a massive thrill from its murderous success. Imagine what M5 felt. This idea may remind you of a Magneto sort of character, who basically feels that homo inferior has little place left other than to perhaps serve him. In X2 he tells Pyro "You're a god among insects", and that was not meant to be any kind of joke. I feel like maybe that's what's happening here.

The only problem with my theory is...how does Kirk manage to convince M5 to die if it knew exactly what it was doing and liked it? I guess we'd have to assume it did have some ethical subroutine failsafe that even its [sentient] mind couldn't bypass. Who knows; the ending of episodes where Kirk pulls this kind of logic stunt often come off as a bit of a deus ex machina anyhow. In reality there probably should have been no stopping this machine.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jun 9, 2017, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Fascination

Whoa, first paragraph should read: "I'll suggest a real-world litmus test of who is and isn't a strong actor."
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Peter G.
Fri, Jun 9, 2017, 3:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Fascination

@ Rahul,

I took my time deciding whether to post a reply to the following, and ultimately decided to do so:

"Let's face it: the actors on DS9 aren't great actors."

Taking this literally, I guess none of them are like Anthony Hopkins, no. But I take it rather to mean that they aren't that strong as actors. Instead of contesting this based on my experience or opinion, instead - for those posters who somehow feel that one or more actors on DS9 were weak or worse than on other series (like Voyager, heh) - I'll suggest a real-world litmus test and who is and isn't a strong action. And that test is to see who is working regularly and who isn't. The market itself, and other producers in film and TV are probably a good barometer of how good an actor is, or at least how presentable they are (which can be for reasons other than skill, including looks).

I love TNG and can hardly say enough good things about it. But look at the actors there. Do any of them really get work other than Patrick Stewart? And I would actually argue that some of them are quite good, including Frakes and Dorn, but others such as Sirtis and Spiner - well, let's just say they had a big break but were probably not suited to much more than that show. And Spiner really stole the show as Data more often than not, and even so I would say his range was probably limited to that character.

Now take a look at Voyager; who on that show gets real work? Mulgrew, of course. She was known before Voyager and I'd defend her any day despite how they wrote her character on the show. But what about the others? I've never seen almost any of them in anything else, except for Robert Picardo who gets the odd job I've seen. And of course he was the most celebrated cast member, so that figures.

Enterprise suffers from similar issues with its cast despite Bakula who was already famous. Although to be fair I do occasionally see Connor Trinneer (Trip) and Dominic Keating (Malcolm) do stuff, so at least there's that for that show.

But now look at DS9. We have Avery Brooks, who while by no means being a noteworthy actor, at least did have a prominent role in American History X. But of the others, Rene Auberjonois works all the time both on screen and on the stage, Colm Meaney also gets tons of work (and starred on Broadway with Kevin Spacey), Alexander Siddig works a lot and even gets the occasional high-profile gig (like on Game of Thrones), and Armin Shimmerman is very well known and happens to do a lot of work for the actors' union (iirc he was the President of Equity or something like that). Nana Visitor and Terry Farrell arguably fall in with most Trek cast members whose main career event was being cast in a Trek show. But most of this cast are serious working actors who get a lot of significant work.

The numbers speak for themselves, not that this in some way apologizes for this episode in particular (which I like but understand why most people hate it). And yeah, I do agree that in general Bareil was too wooden to be interesting much of the time, although on repeated re-watches I find that he does contribute something substantial to the world that can get lost on a first viewing.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jun 9, 2017, 1:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: The Siege of AR-558

Honor or no honor, let's face it - Klingons are bloodthirsty. Worf and several other Klingons have stated outright that killing is in their blood, and genetically speaking this may well be the case. An entire culture based on violence didn't just spring up out of nowhere.

Incidentally, I think Ezri's later point about Klingon 'honor' is not only accurate but probably could be expanded to suggest that honor never was what it was purported to be. Look at the Klingons in TOS. They are deceptive, wily, and will try any trick. The occasional Klingon did seem more honorable (Kang) or more blatantly valorous (Kor) but overall they were no great shakes in the morality department. Then switch to TNG where in "Heart of Glory" we're not exactly looking at paladins there, then we get Duras, K'mpec and the corrupt council and finally Gowron who isn't even that bad but certainly doesn't live up to the theoretical model of honor.

So when categorizing Klingons as "bloodthirsty but honorable" I think it's fair to basically excise "honorable" from that algorithm and call a spade a spade and say that Quark is accurate to use them as a baseline for unadulterated violence. I mean, their party games aren't even all that different from the Nausicaan dart game.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jun 8, 2017, 2:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

@ Robert,

"That said... aborting babies with physical defects is a different ball game altogether (as DLPB says) than aborting an unwanted baby."

Is it different? Think carefully about how you might define "unwanted" in this context. The people in this society find a baby 'unwanted' when it doesn't conform to the perfection of genome they're interested in. They very likely consider an imperfection in this sense to be a "defect", so what's the real difference then? Maybe you could try to distinguish between someone who doesn't want *any kind of baby* and someone who doesn't want *specific kinds* of baby, but in the end that ends up being a subjective distinction. Certainly in terms of law you couldn't distinguish between selective abortion and elective abortion, and since eugenics is illegal in the Federation it makes me wonder how they would govern such things. Do they allow 'breeding' of human genes but not direct gene engineering? If so that would seem to me to be a distinction that wouldn't really solve the problem of trying to eliminate 'inferiors' from the gene pool, which is exactly what this colony did.
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Peter G.
Wed, Jun 7, 2017, 10:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

@ DPLB,

Despite the hyperbole I think you make an excellent point about this episode's message being potentially contradictory with other in-universe morals we've been shown.

There is one mitigating factor in favor of the episode, which is that what the colony has done seems dangerously close to what led to the eugenics wars on Earth. While at first glance there are no supermen shown here, at the same time they can't possibly have achieved what they did merely by selecting the preferential fetuses in utero and aborting the others. It smacks of genetically modifying absolutely everyone to eliminate imperfection, and the only reason there are no Khans here is because they didn't design anyone to be like that. But they could have! And the Federation interdiction against genetic engineering isn't just to prevent Khans, but also various other ills including (*SPOILER* as we later hear in "Dr. Bashir, I Presume") a race to modify one's embryo just so that it can compete with everyone else.

So on the one hand I can see the argument that selectively aborting for 'excellence', while perhaps distasteful to many of us, is in principle identical to any type of abortion whatsoever once permitted. From that standpoint, assuming abortion is indeed a thing in the Federation (is it? I don't even know!) then this is a contradiction. However, if, as I suspect, the colony is entirely engineered, then there is a good case against them even though the episode skirts around that fact and doesn't deal with it in an upfront way.

Overall I think the episode's message is confused, and wants to be about 'natural life' whereas in fact its subject matter should have been a lot more specific and given us something better than a straw man argument.
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Peter G.
Wed, Jun 7, 2017, 9:35am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Let He Who Is Without Sin...

@ Kelly,

I hope DS9 helps you get over your Madness. This episode may not help as much, although I like it better than some others do.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jun 6, 2017, 11:03am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Loss

I also like the Riker scene. I think it would have had more impact, though, if Troi had already brushed off earnest attempts by others to help her. It could have been made clear that not only was she mistreating herself but the others as well by acting like she was above their points of view. The 'aristocratic' comment would have hit home even harder, I think. Maybe we could have even been treated to a "you're more like your mother than you think" jab, which could have been really biting :)
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