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Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 8:21am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@Galadriel: "At the current point, I see little other options that to discuss the plot. This whole season is just one story, and we cannot judge the value of the story, or its ideological character, before we know what it leads to."

Agreed, to a point. But separate chapters in a story should be worthwhile examining on their own. You might see them in another light at the end of the story, than during the story, but that doesn't mean there cannot be any light to see them in during the trip.

I know fictional stories are not real life (although good ones can inform real life), but one wouldn't say (I hope) that one's life is not worth examining until it's over either. So why make that case for a story?

@Galadriel: "I loved the dialogue with the Suliban spy “Captain, you have changed“ — “Not for the better” in the otherwise horrible Nazi two-parter"

I recently rewatched ENT season 4 for the first time since it aired (mostly quite enjoyable!). Wasn't this line from a conversation between Archer and the captain of the Columbia (forgot her name... Archer's old flame) in the episode following the Nazi two-parter? Or were there similar lines in both episodes?

'Fun' fact: I recently read "The Fifty-Year Mission" books (highly recommended for all Trek fans!) and in the part where they talk about ENT season 4 someone (I think Coto) mentioned that there were some suggestions (I can't remember the source of those suggestions) to set the entire season during World War II. Luckily he didn't like that idea and put an end to such silly notions!

@Galadriel: "So let’s wait for the remaining two episodes to air before criticizing the plot. I do agree, though, that till now the plot works mostly by mystery, twists and shocking revelations, not by logic or character."

Four episodes even! More time for the writers. :-) I agree on the second sentence.
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Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 2:53am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@Henson: "Actually, this raises a very interesting question. If Lorca is actually from the mirror universe, then where is his non-mirror counterpart?"

I've heard or read speculation that MU Lorca destroyed PU Lorca's ship with everyone (including PU Lorca) on board. That would explain the strange story he told about blowing up his own ship while getting away safely himself.

@Brian: "Meanwhile, the message boards (including this one) consist mainly of people mired in discussion of the inane "plot" details that I could not care less about. "

If you raise an on-topic subject you are interested in instead, I'm sure we're happy to discuss it.
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Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 11:56am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

I couldn't resist. :-)

Memory Alpha confirms what I said at first (TNG: Captain's Holiday, TNG: Qpid, and DS9: Q-Less), but no mention of TNG: All Good Things... on Vash's page or vice versa.
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Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 11:51am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@Gee

More Vash: now that I'm thinking about it, there might've been a reference to her (but no appearance) in TNG's All Good Things' future timeline. Or my brain is just making that up. Perhaps I should just check Memory Alpha after all.
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Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 11:44am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@Filip: "To all the people saying that the idea of making Georgiou and Hoshi related is ridiculous because they are of different nationalities, you've missed the point completely by identifying characters with their respective actors."

I think you've missed a subtlety in the original point I was trying to make. If Hoshi and Georgiou are presented to be related in a future episode, then that is what it is (just like Korean Linda Park playing a Japanese character or English Patrick Stewart playing a Frenchman; although there are reasons why the former is somewhat more problematic than the latter, having to do with orientalism as I briefly touched on in a previous post). My initial concern was about the almost instinctive willingness that some people seem to have to jump to the "they are related" suggestion. I don't know individual people's reasons for doing so, but seeing this in a larger context makes me suspect it has something to do with the apparent interchangeability of Asian cultures in western eyes (definitely historically and still to this day) and that they probably wouldn't have done so if the two characters had been Caucasians.

@Gee: "ahhhh yes, Vash. Had totally forgotten about her... was she just in the 3 episodes(across DS9+TNG), do you know?"

Off the top of my head her only canon appearances are Captain's Holiday and the Robin Hood Q episode on TNG and the season 1 (and only) Q episode on DS9. I'm sure Memory Alpha can confirm or correct. :-)

@Gee: "didn't the admiral on the Europa blow up his ship and crew? no attempt was made to try and beam some of them outta there."

Sorry, I'm not quite sure what you are referring to here. Was that one of the ships at the Battle of the Binary stars?
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Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 9:20am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@Gee: "After 'choose your pain' a lot of people were calling Ash Tyler "Vash Tyler". "

Vash as in V(oq) + Ash or was some connection implied between Ash and TNG/DS9 Vash?

@Gee: "But is it also not possible that DSC writers aren't taking us down a long and winding road with a shaggy dog in tow? that Lorca is as he has been presented?"

Sure. I think that most people who speculate about Lorca being from the MU come from an angle that a Starfleet captain should not blow up his own ship (while it's easily conceivable the an MU Lorca destroyed the ship to get PU Lorca out of the way) or suggest to Burnham that she should kill a whole bunch of people for her own benefit (as he did in this latest epsiode). Moreover, the show is most definitely presenting Lorca as a mystery, no matter which way the outcome will swing. Cornwell noticing weird unexplained scars, Lorca changing the coordinates of Discovery's last jump while saying something along the lines of "let's go home". Those might be red herrings, but it doesn't take away from the fact that the show wants us to consider Lorca to be a mystery. I think I've even heard one of the writers or producers say that in as many words on one of the After Treks.
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Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 6:38am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

Argh... "trope", not "trop".
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Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 6:37am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@LJ

Could be, although given the humanoid alien trop of Trek that seems an odd aspect to focus on.

@Plain Simple: "For me personally the bad taste LOST left me with is due to the final seasons turning the characters into mindless pawns of the plot (sometimes even literally)"

Yes, I'm quoting myself, just to correct something. I wanted to write "final season", singular, not plural. I actually quite liked seasons 4 and 5 of LOST and I think there is a particular scifi concept (which I won't spoil here for those who haven't seen the show and still want to do so) they deal with really well.
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Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 6:17am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@wolfstar: "I think the Klingon makeover was for a few reasons:
- because the Berman-era Klingons didn't look "credible" anymore by modern TV standards, mainly because of the hair"

I can understand, to varying degrees, the logic behind the other points you mention (independent of whether I think they're good enough reasons), but this one I don't understand at all. What makes a (TMP) Klingon less "credible" than a Vulcan or Andorian? What does the hair have to do with it?
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Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 6:12am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@Gee

LOST actually answered quite a lot of questions, although some answers were implied more than explicitly stated. And yes, it took them a while to get to the answers. For me personally the bad taste LOST left me with is due to the final seasons turning the characters into mindless pawns of the plot (sometimes even literally), which to a certain extent (but actualized in a different way) is one of my main issues with DSC as well.

What is the Vash theory? Are we expecting her to show up in DSC?
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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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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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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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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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Fri, Jun 14, 2013, 6:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek (2009)

Goladus, it would've been an interesting callback if that canyon had been the remnant of the Xindi attack on earth in Enterprise, but I think that wasn't anywhere near Iowa.
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Tue, Apr 23, 2013, 5:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: Wolf in the Fold

Although this episode overall was reasonable entertaining, I too was bothered by the multiple instances of sexism Mike Meares points out above.

One thing I do like about the murder mystery side of things, is that early on they put in a subtle hint, which they never come back to and thus leave it up to the viewer to pick up on it or not. Either that, or it was an unintentional slip up by the writer(s). After the second murder when Hengist tries to put the blame on Scotty he says that Scotty was found with both the victims when they were found. But how would he know that Scotty was with the second victim? No one told him that yet at that point, I think? Subtle clue or inconsistent writing?
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Mon, Feb 4, 2013, 10:44pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The Galileo Seven

Overall I like the episode well enough ---it's always a pleasure to see a lot of Spock--- but I can't stand the strange way in which rationality is misrepresented here. Why would it be logical for Spock to disregard the emotions of his crew. Makes no sense at all. And the final action that saves the day was a very rational one, even though the episode made it seem that Spock was stubborn, instead of correct, in not admitting that it was an emotional one.

In fact, clips from this episode were used in the wonderful talk "The Straw Vulcan" by Julia Galef, about misrepresentations of rationality: www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLgNZ9aTEwc

On a (fairly) minor note, I have to say that the character of Commissioner Ferris was highly annoying and unbelievable. The man really has nothing better to do than hang around on the bridge and gleefully count down until Kirk has to abandon his search? Not long into the episode, I was hoping they would use him as a guinea pig to test if the transporters were working properly again.
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Thu, Jan 24, 2013, 1:44am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: Dagger of the Mind

I just watched the episode again, and by the end I couldn't help but wonder if they had somehow reset the changes made to Kirk's mind in the episode. Or is he still madly in love with Dr. Noel?
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Sun, Jan 22, 2012, 10:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Ethics

@Jack: That's always been one of the wider problems when trying to see Star Trek as a whole: Technologies that magically save the day in one episode are conveniently forgotten the next week if the drama calls for a different solution (or lack thereof). I guess you just have to roll with it to enjoy the show. Sometimes it's quite jarring, but in most cases I don't care too much.
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Sun, Oct 23, 2011, 1:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Ethics

In some shows having a meaningless death would be called realism, but I guess it does not really fit the clean Star Trek universe. Unless you're wearing a red shirt, of course.
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Wed, May 25, 2011, 3:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: I, Borg

Nick P., so you're saying you would willingly trade one genocide for another? It's an impossible choice to make. I guess if you were a Jew in your scenario you could argue, rather the Germans than us, and if you were a German you could say the reverse. If you were a German Jew you were screwed anyway.

A better analogy might be, what if you had the opportunity in 1944 to blow up the leaders of the Nazi party (so not all Germans), would that be an acceptable choice to make? Or hey, lets make it even more topical, murdering Bin Laden (not in self defense or during combat, but actually going there with the intent to murder him), is that an acceptable choice to make? I don't know. I can sort of see why many people would say "yes", but it also makes me very uncomfortable. At what point is it justified to violate the principles you're fighting for to, seemingly, defend those same principles?
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Tue, May 24, 2011, 10:53am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: I, Borg

From the review: "Besides, what better way to beat the Borg collective than by having it assimilate the sense of the individual self into its hive mind? Perhaps then it is we who are assimilating them."

I guess this is a point that belongs more in "Descent" then here, but since you bring it up: I've always wondered why Hugh's individuality was so special to the collective. Presumably everyone they assimilate comes in with a sense of individuality, not only Hugh. Or is the point that they didn't expect it in Hugh and so didn't purge it when they took him back? (Hmm... random thought about First Contact/Voyager that just came up: could Hugh's individuality be the source that sparked the Borg's creation of their Queen? Was the Queen's origin ever addressed? I don't remember.)
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Mon, May 23, 2011, 11:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Ethics

@Grumpy: "Just occurred to me that a better choice for the accident victim would've been... Alexander. I mean, we *know* Worf's not going to die, but his son might. And if Riker is shocked that Worf would ask him to assist in his suicide, imagine how shocked Alexander would be when his dad tells him to off himself! "

Had they done that, it would've effectively killed Worf as a character. How could we, as the audience, continue to root for Worf as one of the good guys, if he instructs his son to commit suicide! No, it might've made for a powerful episode, but it would've been the end of the character of Worf on TNG.
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Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 12:55am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Live Fast and Prosper

"I wish I could claim credit, but I am innocent." Ensign Kim with a surprising amount of character insight.
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