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Tue, Mar 20, 2018, 4:44am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Acquisition

The scenes at the beginning with the Ferengi moving around past the knocked out crew could potentially have been compelling - if they hadn't been the Ferengi, but rather some new race. It could have been mysterious and creepy - why are these people here, what are they looking for, what do they want with the Enterprise crew? But because it's the Ferengi, we know they're here to steal stuff and leave, so we're just waiting for the plot proper to start.
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Baron Samedi
Mon, Feb 26, 2018, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Ensigns of Command

I watched this episode on a whim because it's one of the few I had never seen before. It was such a delight! "The Ensigns of Command" perfectly captures the spirit of TNG. The story is all about diplomacy, contrasting the crew (sans Data) dealing with a hyper-textualist alien culture and ultimately solving the problem through a third-party arbitration clause hidden in a treaty with Data dealing with a hyper-emotional human culture that fails to respond reasonably to the logic he presents.

I enjoyed the interactions between Data and Ard'rian, though I wish she didn't have to develop vaguely romantic feelings towards Data. She seemed too smart and sharp to believably fall so quickly for a machine. Still, it was cute subplot that added depth to the colony and the story.

Overall, I thought this was a great episode, one that encapsulates TNG's strengths as a show - namely, its focus on problem-solving as carried out by a smart and diligent cast of characters trying to live up to Starfleet's ideals. It was a breath of fresh air after the bleakness, rushed pacing, and overplotting of so much of Star Trek Discovery.
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Baron Samedi
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 6:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

Just throwing out how I would rate the episodes this season:

The Vulcan Hello - 8/10
Battle of the Binary Stars - 8/10
Context is for Kings - 6/10
The Butcher's Knife - 4/10
Choose Your Pain - 7/10
Lethe - 5/10
Magic to Make the Sanest... - 9/10
Si Vis Pacem - 1/10
Into the Forest - 7/10
Despite Yourself - 7/10
The Wolf Inside - 7/10
Vaulting Ambition - 9/10
What's Past... - 9/10
The War Without - 3/10
Will You Take My Hand? - 2/10

I feel like I enjoyed the season more than most people here. It was better than the first season of all post-TOS shows, although most of those first seasons had a couple better episodes than any of Discovery's. I'm also pessimistic that the writers will be capable of righting the wrongs inherent in their current approach. Jammer's review of the finale here does a pretty good job capturing how I feel about the series at the moment.

The worst thing I can say about Discovery is that it not only doesn't make me think very hard, but it punishes me for doing so. Pretty much every major storyline collapses upon the slightest examination (the L'Rell/Voq/Tyler scheme, the end of the Klingon war, the Federation going along with Mirror Georgiou's plan). This resulted in the finale, though not insultingly terrible (faint praise I know), not working on any significant level.

On the other hand, the acting is really good (I'm baffled by the critics of Michael/Sonequa Martin-Green's performances here) all-around and the show managed to be tons of goofy fun. I didn't even mind the evil caricature Lorca turned out to be - it was a reasonably satisfying payoff and I don't think the show needed to deliver anything more.

If the writers can focus on delivering a smaller amount of plot in a satisfying manner, then Discovery could end up being a great show. My primary worry is that some CBS ratings data analysts have resolutely determined that Discovery will lose a significant portion of its audience if the plot isn't always moving at a breakneck pace, so these changes won't actually happen.
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Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 7:32am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: In the Cards

What a great episode. Some people seem to view DS9 as a relentless, grim slog. This episode disproves that notion. It takes the larger story's threat and fear as its starting point and builds from it into one of the funniest and warmest-hearted episodes of Star Trek.
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Fri, Feb 9, 2018, 3:07am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Natural Law

The Ventu's word for goodbye is the same as the fascist salute from the Terran empire. Throughout the episode I kept thinking the Mirror Universe Terrans were going to show up.
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Mon, Feb 5, 2018, 3:33am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Prophecy

Lots to dislike here - Harry running around the ship trying to avoid being raped while people tell him how lucky he is comes to mind. But Tim Russ is absolutely priceless in this episode - one of the funniest performances he's ever given as Tuvok.
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Samuel Lawrence
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 8:45am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: In Purgatory's Shadow

Why does everyone assume that Changeling Bashir didn't attempt to save the baby Changeling in 'Begotten'? It could perfectly well be that he did all he could to save it, but was unable to. This is something that happens to real doctors all the time. People often point out that he didn't link with it, but maybe he simply knew that this disease was something linking wouldn't help with, in the same way that it wouldn't help a patient suffering from TB to give them a bone marrow transplant. Or maybe he found a way to link with it without the other characters noticing, but that couldn't save it.
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Baron Samedi
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

I'll chime in regarding ranking the captains:

Favorite to least favorite as characters:
1) Kirk
2) Sisko
3) Picard
4) Lorca
5) Janeway
6) Archer

Best to worst as actors,:
1) Janeway/Picard (tie)
3) Lorca
4) Kirk
5) Archer
6) Sisko
(I don't think any of these actors were "bad" - they were all great at least 90% of the time. That said, ENT S1-S2 Archer was performed a bit blandly and Avery Brooks occasionally over-acted noticeably.)

Most effective to least effective as leaders:
1) Picard
2) Sisko
3) Archer (mostly for S3-S4)
4) Janeway
5) Lorca
6) Kirk

I agree with some of the comments above regarding Janeway's inconsistency as a captain, as you have to make way too many leaps on your own to explain how often she oscillated between strictly following protocol/the prime directive in some episodes and her jettisoning those traits in others. It's tempting to try to draw some kind of an arc around her behavior, but futile imo, as I'm convinced there's hardly anything holding her character together over the course of the series. That said, Kate Mulgrew did a fantastic job with the character and made a big impact with her strong performances in individual episodes ("Tuvix," "The Thaw," "Scorpion," "Dark Frontier," and the series finale come right to mind).

As to "Vaulting Ambitions," it's my favorite episode of Discovery so far. I haven't truly believed anything we've learned about Lorca so far because something has always seemed "off" about him and his explanations for his behavior and his past, so I don't feel like an interesting character has been excised through the revelation that he's from the MU - I was hoping the show would go this route, as it explains a lot about his character so far. On top of that, Saru, Burnham, Stamets, Lorca and Georgiou all had strong character moments throughout. I'm impressed at the number of bases the episode touched effectively in its short running time.
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Baron Samedi
Mon, Jan 1, 2018, 10:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Seventh Season Recap

Season 7 of Voyager is described pretty well here, in that feels pretty pedestrian. The writers have firmly settled into a formula for the show, preventing both the occasional catastrophic misfires and the occasional classics. There are quite a few fairly good episodes ("Author Author," "Repentance," "Critical Care," "The Void," each installment of both two-parters), tons of mediocre ones, and only a couple outright flops ("Friendship One" and "Unimatrix Zero Part 2", both overrated here at 2.5 stars).

It's a very distinct 7th Season from the two other Trek series that have one. TNG was running out of ideas, churning out episodes of a huge range of quality. DS9 attempted to do a whole lot with a new character and a ten-part finale, to varying degrees of success. Voyager S7 just felt like more Voyager, competent and rarely challenging.

Looking back, the peak of the show was from "Before and After" through "Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy," roughly Season 3.75-Season 6.2. The end of Season 3 had a huge upward surge in quality, Season 4 shook up the status quo and took the most risks, Season 5 executed stories within that new status quo the most effectively, and Season 6 started with a random string of strong episodes. That made for a thrilling run of television, and almost all the Voyager episodes I revisit are within it.
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Tue, Dec 12, 2017, 11:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

So the next month the civilization will be gone, at the rate it evolves. So who cares? The plot contrivance is a pointless excuse to make religion a strawman. Yaaaaaaaaaaawn...
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Fri, Dec 8, 2017, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

Trite and unoriginal writing. Orville does its worst when Seth tries to wrestle with theology. Such a shame, since the episode had potential.
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Tue, Dec 5, 2017, 11:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: New Dimensions

LaMarr should never have been promoted to engineering. Two words to explain why: majority rule. One more word: statue.
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Tue, Dec 5, 2017, 11:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Majority Rule

So, why didn’t the statue thing come up later when LaMarr is up for promotion to engineering? ::balldrop::
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Baron Samedi
Mon, Nov 13, 2017, 8:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: Fourth Season Recap

I just finished Enterprise and have how seen every Trek episode made so far! (Assuming you don't count The Orville or the Animated Series.)

Compared to Jammer, I liked Seasons 1 and 2 of Enterprise a lot less, Season 3 about the same, and Season 4 a lot more. Botched finale aside, Season 4 really worked for me - it had so much world-building, developed a few of the characters (and put the others in plot-driven stories that at least didn't bring out their underdevelopment as characters), and had the delightful "In a Mirror Darkly..." two-parter, which I had an absolute blast with (Mirror Universe Porthos being a Rottweiler gave me a big laugh).

If Enterprise had 7 seasons, I could see the first two being looked at as the bad ones, three as the transition where it got good, and four as the beginning of its peak. Unfortunately, the show's cancellation and the terrible "These Are the Voyages" (seriously, nothing happened to these characters in six years?) prevented that from happening, and we're left with a failed show that only got consistently good right before the ending.

That said, I'm glad I watched it. Compared especially to Star Trek Discovery so far, Enterprise episodes have a lot of breathing room and are more pleasant to watch. It's fun and relaxing to watch the shows take their time presenting a new conflict every week. Too often, these conflicts were resolved with silly firefights, and the first two seasons hugely overplayed the crew's inexperience and drew heavily on cliche, but it was OK overall. The Xindi Arc worked; the Temporal Cold War didn't. I enjoyed all the two and three parters in Season 4, as they all provided a lot of insight to the Trek universe.

Enterprise's biggest weakness is in its characters. Jeffrey Combs was always a blast to watch but among the regular cast, Reed, Hoshi and Phlox were all only mildly interesting and the rest just bored me. At least Archer grew as a result of the Xindi Arc, but he was never hugely compelling and is definitely the weakest of the Trek main protagonists.

Looking at the number of episodes I gave a positive rating (a 7 or higher on the 10-scale I use on IMDb, which correlates with a 3/4 star rating here), I gave 5 episodes a positive rating in Season 1, 9 in Season 2, 15 in Season 3, and 15 in Season 4. So that's a lot of improvement!

My picks for the best episodes:
1. Cogenitor
2. Twilight
3. Damage
4. In a Mirror Darkly Part I
5. The Council
6. In a Mirror Darkly Part II
7. Shockwave Part I
8. Carbon Creek
9. Stratagem
10. Vox Sola

Thanks as always, Jammer, for running this site, and I'm glad you're continuing writing reviews for Discovery!
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Baron Samedi
Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 6:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Chosen Realm

The loss of the data here had more of an emotional impact on me than the loss of most of these characters (aside from Porthos) would have had.
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Baron Samedi
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Cogenitor

Having just rewatched this episode, I continue to be blown away by it. It comes close to justifying the whole first two seasons of Enterprise. For once, it acknowledges the pitfalls of Archer & Co.'s approach to space exploration and meeting other cultures in a way that feels believable and non-contrived, all in the context of a fascinating issue.

The way the Vissians treat the cogenitors seems unequivocally awful and unacceptable; yet, the episode doesn't fall into the pitfall of blind cultural relativism in indicting Trip's decision to enforce his own values onto them while knowing very little about them. Archer's admission that his own bad example had a role in inspiring Trip to act the way he did - setting in motion the events that led to the cogenitor's suicide - is as close as Enterprise gets to acknowledging how the writers had written Archer as excessively foolish and simplistic in his handling of exploration up to this point in the show. And the subplot with Reed and the Vissian female was funny and added some light-hearted texture to the story.

I'd even put it on my all-time Top 10 episodes list which, off the top of my head, would be:
1. In the Pale Moonlight (DS9)
2. Duet (DS9)
3. Scorpion (VOY)
4. The Enterprise Incident (TOS)
5. Mirror, Mirror (TOS)
6. Tapestry (TNG)
7. Cogenitor (ENT)
8. Q Who (TNG)
9. The Thaw (VOY)
10. All Good Things...(TNG)
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Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Majority Rule

It was nice to see Major Hayes from Enterprise show up as the PR guy for John.

Prior to this episode, I was concerned that the Union is really a Terran Empire. Think about it: the ship has already been involved in a dispute that disrespected one crew member's cultural convictions and also invading a ship/world in which the crew overthrew the government and its religious system. This is imperialism of the worst sort, invading and ruining cultures as it goes.

But this episode demonstrates that the Union has some sort of code or doctrine such as the prime directive that deals with non-interference. But where was this code in the previous episodes? The multiculturalism of TNG is dead as a doornail in Orville.

But at least this episode offers the hope of infusion by good episodes of Sliders and the neat scifi elements from that show.
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Sat, Oct 21, 2017, 10:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Aquiel

Since the rise of YouTube came, it is more realistic to think someone would fall for another by watching video blogs. This episodes works better now because of this.
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Baron Samedi
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 6:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Carbon Creek

This episode has so much heart. Probably my biggest disagreement with Jammer since "Balance of Terror". Strong 3.5 from me.
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Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 10:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Non Sequitur


It’s a prototype ship with a technical problem. But it’s a partially functioning vessel.

This episode is symptomatic of Voyager’s pathology: too quickly hitting the reset button, and little risk in characters evolving over the course of an episode or the series. Arcs are stalled.
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Fri, Oct 6, 2017, 8:15am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Relics

There’s a low key Star Wars reference early in the episode. The Dyson Sphere looks like a Death Star, and the dialogue talks about something being “impacted on the surface,” a callback to the assault by X-wings by the rebels.
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Thu, Oct 5, 2017, 8:29am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Dear Doctor

Just watched this episode and really enjoyed it. I’m pretty shocked to see so many people that hated it to be quite honest.

One point I’d like to make is how everybody assumes that it was just Archer and Phlox that made the call and that’s that....they file their reports, the information on the cure would be in the database. Basically Starfleet would get the information, and if they disagreed with the outcome they could dispatch envoys no problem.
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Sun, Oct 1, 2017, 9:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

They got the Governor from Walking Dead to be the captain now? Heh? Parallel actions, keeping a minster in his quarters...
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Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 10:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

Man—who taught her how to Vulcan nerve pinch? It was not super effective. Maybe MB missed that day at Vulcan school. Somebody, quick, page Admiral Archer! We need a Vulcan nerve pinch here—stat!
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Sat, Sep 16, 2017, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Tacking into the Wind

Love the episode. But one small flaw: how did Odo know exactly how the female changeling looked while she was decomposing on stage? Having him appear as her in somewhat good health would have been more expected. But, it's a small point.
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