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SlackerInc
Sun, May 7, 2017, 3:26am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Cause and Effect

All very interesting. And then of course there's the unusual way he sits down in chairs.

I suppose huddling together to fit in a shot would be more of an instinct in classic 4:3 aspect TV than it would be in today's 16:9 (or wider) ratios.

Back to the episode: after reading the comment thread for "Inner Light" and noting @RandomThought's valid point about whether Picard would really be ready to immediately return to duty, I had a similar thought about Captain Bateson in this episode.

I was curious about what happened to that crew later in the continuity, and according to stuff on Wikipedia (or maybe Memory Alpha), Bateson was apparently given immediate(?) command of a 24th century starship, even though he had just come from the 23rd century, 90 years earlier. Wouldn't that be like a Navy captain from 1927 being given command of a ship today? What would he make of all the satellite navigation, etc.? Even more than Picard in "Inner Light", that strikes me as at the very least requiring a trip back to Starfleet for at least an abbreviated education. I don't know if they kept his whole crew together, but can you imagine being a 24th century person assigned to serve under Bateson, and being nervous about whether he'd even understand the technology, not to mention the current state of diplomatic affairs? Yikes.
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SlackerInc
Sun, May 7, 2017, 3:17am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

@RandomThoughts

Thanks! I have made several comments on Voyager reviews over the past few years, but I've only just started to branch out to TNG due to it being the focus of the "TV Book Club" on the Appointment TV podcast:

https://twitter.com/atvpodcast/status/837395408565452802

(You'll also find comments from me on most of the episodes above this one on that list, and soon on the ones below it.)

I also only just learned this weekend how to use an RSS browser extension so I can know when someone comments below one of mine, which will help me engage more in a conversation rather than just throwing my thoughts out into the void for those who arrive later to see. :)

I think you make a great point about whether Picard was prepared to resume command. In reality, shouldn't Riker and Dr. Crusher have questioned this, and maybe held some kind of hearing with Starfleet? If they weren't so dedicated to the reset button, it could have been cool to see them take another episode on this, perhaps concluding with a montage of Picard going back to Starfleet Academy for a crash refresher course.

I had a similar thought about Captain Bateson in "Cause and Effect", although not at the time I watched it--it was after I read some Wiki stuff about what happened to that crew later in the continuity. Bateson was apparently given immediate(?) command of a 24th century starship, even though he had just come from the 23rd century, 90 years earlier. Wouldn't that be like a Navy captain from 1927 being given command of a ship today? What would he make of all the satellite navigation, etc. Even more than Picard, that strikes me as requiring a trip back to Starfleet to say the least.

But I should probably take that question over to that episode's comment thread...
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SlackerInc
Sun, May 7, 2017, 3:01am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Justice

I agree with those who consider the rating for this episode a bit harsh. I'd still only give it two stars, though, so it's not as though I would actually recommend it.

I think the biggest flaw, as noted above, is how quickly it wrapped up. Picard's speech, and Riker's addendum. were certainly not on a par with some of Kirk's great soliloquys. And then Picard asked the "god" to give a signal as to whether the Federation should remove their colony. The "god" then disappeared, and Picard decided that must be the signal, even if it was an unsatisfying one. Does that mean they are removing the colony? Seemed ambiguous.
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SlackerInc
Sat, May 6, 2017, 1:04am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

Sorry for the consecutive posts, but the above was written after just reading the review and the first few and last few comments. Now I've read all the comments on this review, and have some responses to share:

@Nick P: "I always felt it might have been a little better if they never cut back to the Enterprise, I felt it was unnessary dramatically, cut down the mystery and tension, and implied Picard was not actually 'Living' the memories, just being donwloaded them"

Good point, I think you may be right. Although it did add a sci-fi element that wouldn't be there otherwise. Hard to say.

@laurence k: "In subsequent TNG episodes, we should have at least seen evidence of Kataanian door decorations appear in Picard's quarters, for example."

Great point.

"Similarly, when Kamin agrees to build the nursery, and Eline hugs him, we see in her face great sorrow as well as joy, as though she knew that the only children Kamin could ever have with her would be virtual ones."

This raises multiple questions. Were the other characters (NPCs, if you will) sentient, like the Doctor in Voyager? And if so, did they "know" they were playing parts in a simulation, or did they think they were really living on Kataan a thousand years ago? Obviously we saw them give a reveal at the very end, but I thought that might have only been activated at that point.

I also liked your points about gender.

@Jammer: "I don't think belief in God has anything to do with it. It gets to the very nature of our own human need to have a purpose in life, to say that we were here, that we lived, and that we leave something behind when we die. Children. Writings. History. A legacy. Something."

I absolutely agree (in fact, this is one of my preoccupations: I've thought of having a law firm periodically send letters or videos to my descendants, every few decades). But I'm an atheist, so I can't necessarily contradict the point made there. I can kinda see how if you thought you'd all be in Heaven or whatever, this urge would be a lot weaker.

@CeeBee: "I wouldn't take kind to people forcing me into memories I never experienced, never had before and never asked for. Thirty years of torture. Unfathomable. Good these people are extinct so they cannot screw up others anymore."

As someone noted upthread, it's more like fifty years, or more. Anyway, as long as that extra life was happy, I'd be grateful for having so many years added to my life.

@Joe: "I think that Kataanian probe was _deliberately_ created as an idealized representation of their life... a 'Photoshopped' representation, if you will."

I don't quite see it, because of the way the Administrator was shown to be, not a villain, but kind of an insincere politician type.

@Lewikee: "In regards to the ethics of the probe:
I rationalize that aspect as the probe doing what life does to everyone of us. We didn't ask to live and yet here we are, whether we like it or not. Then we deal with it as best we can. I think the probe is as unethical as life itself. We all got hit with the "like it or not, live a life" directive. Picard just got hit with it twice."

Oh wow, that is profound. I hadn't thought of it that way, but you are really onto something there! Very philosophical, and very cool.

@milk73: "I try to tell myself that he 'lived' his life literally in the same way we, as the viewers, saw it. In bite sized pieces and giant leaps forwards in time. With 'memories' of his life and children growing up sort of taken for granted. Basically the way Inception describes dreams: You always start in the middle of the action or sequence, you never really know or care how you got there. Picard just skipped ahead and his subconscious just went with the flow. Now my hair is different, ok. Now I have kids, fine. Now I have grandkids, seems reasonable. The probe and his subconcious act to 'fill in the blanks' with false memories and emotions to provide continuity."

That's a very intriguing possibility. It would also make it much more reasonable to imagine fitting that much into under a half hour of real time.
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SlackerInc
Fri, May 5, 2017, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

@Jason,

I don't think it was an idealized picture. In fact, one of the things I was really impressed by in the characterization is how the "Administrator" is sort of a typical politician, making nice talk about how it's good to get input from citizens--but Picard sees through it. But this politician doesn't have some secret sinister agenda, and he's not really evil. He's just something in between, a realistic character you rarely see on TV and especially not on a Trek show.

Aside from the subtle writing and strong acting that make this such a great episode (which I can't believe I never saw until just today), there's another factor (or group of factors) making this above and beyond the usual level of quality. That's the costume and especially set design. We've seen plenty of alien planets before, and they are often pretty much the same. When they are different, it's not generally in a convincing, "lived in" way. But so much thought was put into all the little details of this world, from the way the door opening button looked to the architecture.

I especially liked the little set of steps next to the doorway, that Kamin (and at another point his friend) sat on. I've not seen those before, although maybe they are inspired by something in the Mediterranean? A perfect touch, in any case. Without those little details, without that "lived-in" feeling of the sets and costumes, the strong writing and acting would not carry the same impact.
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SlackerInc
Sun, Apr 9, 2017, 10:41am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Measure of a Man

Great episode.

I tend to believe that any AI advanced enough to pass the "Turing test" is not just simulating sentience, but experiencing it. (Therefore, I completely reject the basic premise of the "Chinese room" thought experiment.) However, there's really no way to know for sure. And Data really does not even pass the test, at least if we limit it to behaving just like a human. If we leave open the possibility that one might be communicating with an alien, then maybe he does pass.

In any event, I instinctively like the notion of saying that if we aren't quite sure if he's conscious, but it can't be disproven, then he should be treated as such. But then you get to the ship's computer. (And then, later, the issue of holoprojected beings like the Doctor on Voyager.) Thorny stuff!
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SlackerInc
Sun, Apr 9, 2017, 9:51am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: The Naked Now

Wow, did Denise Crosby look amazing in that outfit. I always thought she was attractive, but I wouldn't have guessed she was quite...that. Sorry for the shallow observation!
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SlackerInc
Sat, Apr 8, 2017, 1:56am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: The Big Goodbye

I agree with Nic's review. This was good fun. Aaron is right though: why would Riker start with "We damand--" on a sensitive diplomatic mission?

Three stars.
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SlackerInc
Fri, Apr 7, 2017, 10:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Encounter at Farpoint

I too would like to know what Gregor was hinting at there.
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SlackerInc
Sun, Nov 20, 2016, 10:42am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Beyond

I tend to mostly agree with this review, except to sort of add ten percent to everything (everything positive, that is). I liked it fairly well, certainly more than STID but less than Trek '09. (I do find it strange that you, or anyone, would like STID better than this one.) It's about on a par with the best TNG movie, "First Contact".

But was Sulu's being gay really confirmed on screen? If so, it sailed over my head. I would not have known except for mentions in the media.

I definitely agree that doomsday scenarios are played out. Are they afraid to just do a movie in which only the crew of the Enterprise is at risk?

Some observations and questions I wrote down while watching:

--Why are there trains in a space station that also has transporter bays?
--Ambassador Spock is dead at 33? What did they base his age on?
--The escape pod made an airtight dock with the enemy fighter when they crashed? Really?
--I hope the lady with the crab legs on her head gets court-martialed for giving up that weapon just to (presumably temporarily) save Sulu.
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SlackerInc
Sat, Jul 23, 2016, 4:50am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Beyond

Huh, I took a look at Rotten Tomatoes and wasn't too impressed with what I saw from the critics I usually trust. But reaction here seems more positive so far. Maybe if I see a lot more of that, I'll see it in the theatre rather than just waiting to watch on Blu-ray from Netflix.
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SlackerInc
Sat, Jul 23, 2016, 4:46am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

I think it's awesome and kind of hilarious that this review "became your Waterloo". I am a procrastinator too and I totally understand. You have nothing to apologize for. I just feel lucky that I happened to arrive here only hours after you posted it, given that it's probably been a month or two since I last visited.
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SlackerInc
Sun, May 29, 2016, 10:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Revulsion

I agree about the suit and especially the heels.

Anyone else notice the nifty tracking shot early on, from when Tuvok stops talking to when the distress call comes in? Pretty sophisticated!
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SlackerInc
Sun, May 1, 2016, 12:52am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: The Gift

Yes, the closing shot was great. I don't always agree with Jammer, but he nailed it in every aspect of this review.

The material with Seven was very well done. But I don't see why Lien had to leave. And it comes across as especially obvious and clumsy that Kes went kablooey, and then the very next scene, Seven's stabilized, human look (with hair and two eyes) is unveiled for the first time. Why couldn't they have both been on the show for a few more episodes, to help make it not look so blatant and obvious?

Agree with Bryan and Nancy that skipping the Doctor's goodbye was especially uncool. Particularly since that scene of unveiling Seven heavily features the Doc, crowing about what a great job he did with her look. Jarring to see no reaction from him, given how close they had been.

And although I'm not a woman, I agree with Nancy that the interaction between Kes and Neelix was handled well (so I guess I do disagree with Jammer on that one point). That was very realistic, I think. She is struggling to explain "it was just..." and Neelix inserted the joke about his cooking, I think, as almost a hint that he didn't really want her to spell out how it was exactly that he didn't cut it for her.

And Nancy, I do think Voyager gets unfairly panned. I'm finding it's quite good to go through selectively, watching roughly half the episodes based on ratings here and on other sites, as well as a friend's recommendation. I imagine you've probably finished by now (three years later), and I look forward to reading your feedback on subsequent episodes. :)

FlyingSquirrel is absolutely right that you can't find a "shark jump" moment in this show, because it was so uneven all the way through.
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SlackerInc
Sun, Feb 21, 2016, 12:07am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Scorpion, Part II

Going through this series again with my wife and daughter, I was surprised how long it took for Seven of Nine to finally arrive. She became such an iconic cast member (love or hate her), that in retrospect I figured she must have come along a lot earlier.

One thing I always thought was irrefutible, no matter how people felt about the character, was that she had revitalized the franchise by increasing viewership. It even says exactly this in the Wiki article about her. But looking over the audience numbers on Wikipedia, they actually look somewhat lower after she was introduced. Is this just an amazing job by Jeri Ryan's PR team of somehow fooling us all?
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SlackerInc
Sun, Feb 21, 2016, 12:01am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Scorpion, Part I

I think Chris Harrison and I are on the same page. I too disagreed with Janeway at several points, and was more sympathetic to Chakotay. To me, approaching the destroyed Borg cubes, and then boarding them, was madness--particularly once they discovered the other species' ship attached. My orders would have been to head at maximum warp in the most perpendicular direction from the whole mess, for a good long while, before even considering colonizing a planet somewhere.

Still a great episode though.
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SlackerInc
Mon, Jan 25, 2016, 10:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Worst Case Scenario

Jammer's review is spot-on. The first half of the episode IS better than the second; yet there are some very enjoyable moments in the latter half as well.

I thought it was interesting how much repetition they did with Paris when he went through the beginning again. Also that Chakotay was more initially reluctant to trust him than with B'Elanna (which makes sense) and then, hilariously, very reluctant after Paris switched sides a second (third?) time.

One of the characters said they wanted to see if Janeway got the ship back. Is it that determinative? I thought it would depend on what the "reader" of the novel did to help or hinder.
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SlackerInc
Tue, Dec 29, 2015, 3:19am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Distant Origin

I'm with the super enthusiastic crowd. I just watched this earlier for the first time and was blown away. Fantastic episode, definitely the best Voyager I've seen and one of the best Trek.

And yes: Piller was quoted, per Wikipedia, as saying this was the "best episode yet" at the time it aired. Piller wrote some of my previous favorites, so that carries serious weight.

Navamske, I noted the same irony you did, and wondered if that was purposeful in the script.

Peremensoe, I have to disagree with you somewhat. Where this becomes a problem is when scientists find very ancient skeletons, especially on the West Coast, and the tribe that was located there at the time of post-Columbian contact (conquest) insists that it is one of their ancestors and must be buried and not studied. They tend to win these cases, even though in the study that is done before scientists are forced to surrender the remains, there are clear signs of ethnic differences from the modern Native Americans who live there.

But since these tribes insist they have always been there and did not have ancestors who crossed the Bering Strait, they won't hear anything of it. It's unfortunate and gets in the way of potentially fascinating scientific discovery, just as in this episode.

A couple things I noticed that I haven't seen others comment on:

--The observations of Paris and B'elanna's flirting behavior, including her feints at indignation, were sophisticated and priceless.

--As even Jammer in his lukewarm review agreed, the central character in the story was really well done. Has this actor been in anything else I would know? (Not like I'd recognize him, of course.)

--A nice, subtle touch in showing the scientists falsely over-assuming about human culture based on a small sample size. Janeway is the captain, so ipso facto, matriarchal culture. (This even though their own leader appeared to be female, which I didn't sense was necessarily due to her gender, although I could be wrong.)

--Speaking of the saurons' leader, she was written and played with nuance one would not expect from a genre show like this (or from most things on TV). She was to be sure a fearsome foe, who ultimately prevailed in forcing the "hero" of the story to sublimate his wish to insist on the correctness of his discoveries by threatening the entire Voyager crew with imprisonment. But unlike with Galileo's case, she did not threaten torture, and I'm not even sure if she would have followed through in destroying Voyager and so on, or if that was a bluff. Also, she repeatedly gave him the opportunity for only a very partial recantation--that he "might" be wrong.

--The eating of the flies swarming around the light was a nice touch.
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SlackerInc
Sat, Dec 26, 2015, 10:21am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The City on the Edge of Forever

I love this episode: I would give it four stars as well. But it's interesting that in this episode and then in the "whales movie", a new timeline is not created. But in the JJ Abrams reboot that is exactly what happens. Now, a lot of people would probably complain but this is an example of Abrams messing things up ; but I actually think a new timeline makes more sense.

Also, instead of just getting the hell out of there, shouldn't they have posted guards to keep others from wandering into the portal?
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SlackerInc
Tue, Dec 1, 2015, 1:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Paradise Syndrome

I just checked out a little of "Star Trek Continues" and Googled to find if Jammer had anything on it. Maybe he could make a thread to discuss the show, even if he doesn't have tim to review it...
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SlackerInc
Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 1:52am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Real Life

I emphatically cosign the last two comments. What the people who hate this are looking for, I don't know. I would be curious to know what they would submit as an example of a very strong episode.

As a side note, it was genius to have the rebellious son hanging out with Klingons and trying to emulate them. Kind of like a white suburban teen who identifies with inner-city black culture.
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SlackerInc
Sun, Nov 8, 2015, 3:49am (UTC -5)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

I have only been able to get through about a third of the thread so far, but so far I like the visions of Robert, methane, and Nic.

I am a cordcutter and I already pay for Netflix and Amazon Prime, as well as three months a year of HBO and three of Showtime. I will probably do one or two months a year of CBS to binge watch this show, timed to expire shortly after each season's finale.
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SlackerInc
Mon, Nov 2, 2015, 9:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Before and After

I am with the majority: great episode, and Lien did some fantastic acting. It's hard to understand both why they fired her, and why she didn't go on to acting success after Voyager. The only thing I can speculate, after what happened to her recently, is that she began to develop psychological problems during her tenure on the show, and that this answers both questions.

Getting back to this episode, though, the writers also deserve credit. Part of what makes the nice acting job possible is that they really presented Kes as a well rounded character. It was especially enjoyable how, after her initial disorientation, she grabbed ahold of the reins and became such an active agent in helping to solve her own issues. And as she started to understand what was happening, she would play along more and more, at least at first (blowing out candles, holding the baby), rather than instantly freaking out in each new scenario.
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SlackerInc
Mon, Nov 2, 2015, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Favorite Son

LOST and BSG had clunkers aplenty after their first seasons . Six Feet Under never did, and Breaking Bad had only one, for my money ("Fly", which a lot of people really love) although the "berries" plot was a groaner.
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SlackerInc
Sun, Oct 18, 2015, 10:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Corbomite Maneuver

I liked the character building moments early on between Kirk and Spock and Kirk and Bones.

The crew members in the corridor when Kirk addressed them were walking around way too calmly.

Bones bringing up his plans to enter a complaint about Bailey in his medical logs when they had three minutes left was bizarre. Same with Scotty smiling at two minutes left, and Yeoman Rand bringing coffee. Bailey was right: everyone was way too calm and casual.

What were those belts for, that they put on just before transporting over?

Some cool directorial/camera effects in this episode.
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