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Tom Eklund
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 12:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Course: Oblivion

"Great episode! As with every Voyager episode (and I literally mean EVERY Voyager episode), it is riddled with plot holes if you look closely enough, but if this is your issue, you might as well throw out the entire series and move on.

Oblivion is a winner for its emotional content and deep, thought-provoking material about the nature of our own existence and some of the big questions surrounding our finite nature."

I second that. Very well written, sir!
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Tommy
Sat, Jan 13, 2018, 10:13am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Yesterday's Enterprise

In this day and age of endless remakes and reboots, this is one TNG episode they should turn into a movie.
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Tomalak
Mon, Jan 1, 2018, 1:15am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Jem'Hadar

Fault look above should read "default look".
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Tomalak
Mon, Jan 1, 2018, 1:14am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Jem'Hadar

A number of people above ask why neither Eris nor the Jem Hadar appear to recognise Odo as a founder.

But they show no special ability to realise someone is a changeling in any other episodes. Even Odo can't seem to tell who other founders are just to look at them and talk to them.

The humanoid appearance the female changeling and others take on does look like him, but the Search Part II says that is then matching up to him. Other episodes establish that his look is the best job he can do of looking like a humanoid, not some kind of fault look for his species. So why didn't they acknowledge him as a founder in any way? Because no founder they had ever encountered looked like that.
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Tomalak
Thu, Dec 28, 2017, 9:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Who Mourns for Morn?

It would have been a great in joke if Morn had spoken a lot in the Mirror Universe episodes. Maybe in our universe he "never shuts up" but the viewer never heard from him while in the Mirror Universe he's known to be quiet but he gets loads of on screen lines.
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Tomalak
Thu, Dec 28, 2017, 2:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: In the Pale Moonlight

If I was Dax I'd be very suspicious. You, Sisko and others discuss how much a pain the Romulans are. Then in his office you go through a whole role play with him on how to bring them into the war, a role play in which it becomes crystal clear that something needs to happen before the Romulans will change their stance. A few days go by, and by an apparent remarkable coincidence an assassination that seems likely to bring the Romulans into the war happens, and instead of reacting like everyone else Sisko mysteriously storms off wordlessly on hearing the news. Hmm...

On a separate note, even if the Senator had been taken in by the recording, how could the plan ever have involved Tolar staying alive? Garak obviously planned to kill him all along but what did Sisko plan to do?
"He believed it, Tolar. You're free to go... Obviously don't tell anyone. The entire future of the war depends on you keeping quiet. Even if we win, the Romulans will go apeshit and attack us if they ever find out. You're not the kind of person to do anything unscrupulous and blurt it out are you? The sort who is reckless after a few drinks?"
"Course I'm not! See you!"
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Tomalak
Tue, Dec 12, 2017, 6:37am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

I don't understand how anyone can consider this episode (or TNG's Who Watches the Watchers?) a remotely convincing critique of religion.

I find it very plausible that primitive people could worship people with far more advanced technology (e.g. look up the cargo cult). But unless one is arguing that Jesus or Mohammed or Moses was using technology from the far future, I can't see the relevance to the actual religious beliefs that people on Earth have.

I enjoyed this episode and WWTW but I think anyone who comes away from them thinking they've seen a critique of religion is seeing what they want to see and hasn't thought it through.
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Tomalak
Fri, Dec 1, 2017, 9:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: New Dimensions

"I want you and I to be okay."

I cringed at this line. How can you be a TV writer and not know when to use I and when to use me?
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Tom Chambers
Fri, Dec 1, 2017, 5:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: New Dimensions

Norvo, my apologies, I should have refrained from commenting. McFarlane's 'Admiral Halsey' shout-out is ultimately just a matter of trivia. I suppose the more relevant question is, not whether you knew, but did Seth McFarlane know? It doesn't matter at all to anybody except naval history buffs.
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Tom Chambers
Fri, Dec 1, 2017, 2:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: New Dimensions

Norvo, you may be right about 'Admiral Halsey' being a Mcfarlane shout-out to a McCartney/Wings song. But (just checking) you do realize that Admiral Halsey was a real person, yes? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Halsey_Jr.
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Tomalak
Sun, Nov 19, 2017, 1:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S3: Chosen Realm

Captain: "Oh, and the root cause of [the Iran-Iraq War]? Well! It was a verrrry important dispute, you see. Yes indeed. Apparently, when Mohammed died in the 7th century, there was an argument about whether his successor should be his son-in-law, or his buddy."

Bit of a stretch to call this the root cause of a war between two majority Shia countries in the 20th Century. Note that it was a secular Iraqi government that started the conflict by invading Iran, not the other way around.
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Tomalak
Sat, Nov 11, 2017, 6:30am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Cupid's Dagger

One of the curious things about the show is that the characters act and talk in a very unintelligent way - like valley girls and meatheads - even in working hours. This helps build the story: e.g. you put an idiot on that Facebook Like planet, or in charge of a diplomatic mission, and it's plausible when everything quickly falls apart.

But it's implausible that these people would ever be employed in these kind of roles in the first place. You have to suspend disbelief a lot to believe people like Darulio would be a leading archaeologist, that most people on the bridge would ever be trusted in that kind of job and so on.
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SovietOmega
Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 3:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Into the Fold

Stop me if you've heard this one. A starship doctor and an advanced technological being form a bond...

Joking aside, despite this episode being a bit too neat and tidy with the plot elements, it was quite nice seeing Isaac get some character development love.

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Tomalak
Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 10:58am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Into the Fold

This was the first Orville episode I've really disliked. I'm very surprised by the positive comments above.

"We've got the reliable old chestnut of 'shuttle crashes on an alien planet' and the crew being forced to survive. Under normal circumstances this would be a recipe for an entirely dull, by-the-numbers filler plot."

Isn't this exactly what we did get?
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speakgeekytome
Mon, Oct 30, 2017, 5:49am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad

Well, I'll agree with others that this was the best Disco has had to offer so far. That's not really saying much - like saying Star Wars ROTS is the best prequel. When the two that came before it were complete dreck, it only looks good by comparison.

But yes, overall, minor thumbs up. Surprising to anyone the best episode so far had a *complete* lack of nu-Klingons? I hated the nu take on Mudd. They turned a character that was a comic relief villain and turned him into a complete asshole. Seriously? I disliked him in the first episode he appeared in and they ruined him in this one. Why make him Harry Mudd? Why not just create a brand new character to be a dick? That's a major problem with this show - screw up everything that's come before it for the sake of name dropping. "Oh we have Klingons and Mudd." No. You don't.

The idea of Groundhog Disco was entertaining overall and despite my distaste for pretty much the entire cast, the writing and the series as a whole, it wasn't terrible. I'm not sure what it is about the show that makes it so bad. Could it get better? Looking back TNG S1 is completely unwatchable and it's a great series by the end, so I supposed it's possible. Even Enterprise ultimately redeemed itself (a bit). With Disco, however, each episode's garbage spills into the next. It's like an ongoing infection. The only way to purge the virus is to nuke the ship, crew and GOT-inspired 'plot' and start season 2 with fresh producers, writers, cast, costume designers, set designers and for the love of god, please give us real, non-crap Klingons!
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Tomalak
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 9:28am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Lethe

Jammer, I just wanted to thank you for your many reviews. They have actually got me rewatching many an old TNG or VOY episode again - enjoyable in itself, and the reviews and your great comments section often just as enjoyable. You clearly put a lot of work in to these and it is appreciated.
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SovietOmega
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 3:42am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Majority Rule

I liked it. It shares the same problems as all the rest of Orville's episodes, but this one in particular was carried by the central concept. It kinda felt like a blend of a few episodes of Sliders (man I miss that show).

It didn't present much novelty beyond a merger of social media and star trek, but it entertained me, and that's really all I ask of The Orville.


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Tomalak
Mon, Oct 23, 2017, 8:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Final Mission

"Stewart is competent while not being overly pompous, treating Dirgo as an equal despite Dirgo's erratic behavior."

We see a fantastic example of this early on. Picard makes the decision to head to the mountains and Dirgo rejects the idea that Picard is in charge. Wesley flips and yells.

Wesley: If you want to get out of this, I suggest you listen to Captain Picard! He's the one who's going to keep us alive!
Picard: Thank you, Ensign, that's enough... Captain Dirgo, you're an able pilot. I welcome your input. If you feel that there is an alternative we are overlooking...
Dirgo: ... No.

Picard is diplomatic and respectful and gets Dirgo to agree to his plan - and at the same time subtly takes command by reducing Dirgo to giving his "input".

This moment is a good example of what is annoying about Wesley, but also realistic. Aside from his very high technical ability, he is immature and incompetent. He put his foot in it in an immature way and escalated tension, while Picard was masterful in defusing that tension.
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SovietOmega
Mon, Oct 23, 2017, 5:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Lethe

"Less than a week ago, you were being tortured. Now you're back in the chair"

all I could think of when I heard that was 'THERE ARE...FOUR LIGHTS!'

I guess Picard and Lorca aren't so different after all...
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SovietOmega
Fri, Oct 6, 2017, 3:49am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Pria

I thought this episode was pretty alright. It continues to be glued right there on the line that legally separates trek from not-trek, but that isn't in itself such a bad thing. I'm still not convinced splicing in humor into a tng style show is the best approach, but it is what we've got, and it probably is better than no trek at all. At least with this episode it didn't get that much in the way.

I particularly liked the bit with the leg....more in that it actually happened than anything else. Minus some justified freaking out, it was pretty casually handled. This sort of medical regeneration of limbs is exactly the sort of thing one might expect a ship of this time to handle, and with all the kerfuffles all the ships in star trek endured, it is a wonder we didn't see much like it.

Honestly, my secret hope was that the limb removal would have been a ruse and that Issac would secretly have been the mastermind behind the plot with a 'hahaha, gotcha' as the ship enters the 'wormhole'. Because the last place I would surely expect a practical joke is after I thought the practical joke was over. Alas, it would have likely required even more complicated time-travel shenanigans or the like to pull off, and probably be antithetical to Issac's character, but one can dream...

Still, the show manages to be watchable, I'll continue to keep pace with it and Discovery, wishing the best for both shows, because when it comes to sci-fi on TV, the more competition, the better!
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atomicWedgie
Mon, May 29, 2017, 12:47pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: The Motion Picture

I grew up watching Star Trek. Captain Kirk and Mister Spock have always been a part of my own self image. I recall how excited we were when this film came out as well as how disappointed we were when we first saw it. It was just too damned long and dull.

My perspective is quite different today. It's not as good as the wholly entertaining Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, but in some ways it's going for something far more interesting. Wrath of Khan was an action movie. There's no action here. This movie is a contemplation on the human heart. We're not talking about romantic love here--well, at least only in part--this movie sets out to explore what it means to be alive.

That's a pretty big theme.

It's too big, making for something of a muddled story. Still, what Robert Wise does is to try and delve into the meaning of life in visual terms. That's what ultimately makes the film worth watching, even if it's slow and imprecise. Wise uses loads of organic and sexual imagery in trying to make sense of it all. If you've got the patience, this picture has its rewards.

Minus a half star for giving us the awful version of the Klingons all series and films have used since. Klingons were so much more interesting in the original series.
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Tom
Thu, Apr 13, 2017, 8:42am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Lower Decks

I looked up Shannon Fill's career and sadly it seems that she stayed forever on the lower decks. She stopped acting in 1995.

This also true of all the other young ensigns, except Dan Gauthier (Lavelle).

Alexander Enberg (Taurik) was producer Jeri Taylor's son. Bruce Beatty (Ben) seems to have found some work in the 2010s after a hiatus during the 2000s.

Great episode btw.
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Tom
Wed, Apr 12, 2017, 3:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Homeward

@Peter G.

I agree that there might have been a need to have such a rule at the start of the Federation, but we know nothing about this. The biggest problem is that the reason for why there is a Prime Directive are never discussed. In the episodes where it shows up, there's almost never an intelligent discussion about why it should or should not be applied.

Captains seem to go between extremes of "it's just a technicality", to "A starship captain's most solemn oath is that he will give his life, even his entire crew, rather than violate the Prime Directive." -James T. Kirk, 2268 ("The Omega Glory").

I agree that there's a general wisdom to not intervening in pre-warp cultures. However in cases where there's a clear humanitarian justification and no downside, I don't see why the Federation should not intervene.

Ultimately, it's complicated. But on Earth we intervene when there are natural disasters. Should the United States have not helped Haiti after the earthquake? Should the Bill Gates foundation stop trying to eradicate malaria in Africa, or help people in that region in other ways because they are not sufficiently advanced?

It would be absurd to say that the Bill Gates Foundation should only be allowed to help poor people in already rich countries. But this is essentially what the Federation seems to be doing. "In the future, there is no hunger, war, or poverty. Unless you’re not a member of the Federation’s Country Club, then f*** off and die." from the following essay: The Prime Directive: Star Trek’s doctrine of moral laziness by Edward Clint.
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Tom
Wed, Apr 12, 2017, 10:26am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Parallels

I agree that it was great. I just want to mention that this was not a cheap episode as they built a unique bridge set, as well as unique uniforms. They also had an elaborate special effects sequence which must not have been cheap at the time.
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Tom
Wed, Apr 12, 2017, 9:39am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Homeward

This is one of the most morally wrong Star Trek episodes. The Enterprise could have easily saved some of these people, yet chose to let them die.

As Jamahl says, Picard could always have beamed them back into space, or even better, back onto the surface where they would have died in almost the exact same manner they would "naturally" have, except a few moments later. If Picard had did that though, he would clearly have been a monster. But that's what he wanted to do: leave all these men, women and children to die without attempting to help them.

I understand the general purpose of the Prime Directive. We don't want to be disturbing pre-warp cultures all over the place. However, what's wrong with helping a species that is about to be wiped out when there is no cost to doing so?

Starfleet is extremely hypocritical as others have pointed out. Would the Federation have refused help from the Q if the Federation was about to be wiped out by the Borg? I don't think that Picard would have accepted to see humanity being wiped out because the Q were following their own version of the prime directive.

This shows the smugness of the Federation. They consider themselves so superior to these people that they don't consider what they would want if they were in the same situation. You bet that they would want to be saved if they were trapped on that planet and not stupidly die in a plasma storm. They wouldn't care if they were saved by a more or less advanced civilizations.

Star Trek greatly exaggerates the consequences of a primitive civilization being exposed to a more advanced culture. Picard and the escaped Boraalan have this conversation: PICARD: "On the other hand, they may believe your fantastic story. They will learn about alien worlds, starships." BORAALAN: "That would be disastrous. It would destroy everything they believe in."

I strongly disagree with that. First, it's a lot better to have a few illusions destroyed than for your entire species to be wiped out. Second, on Earth cultures are not destroyed by mere contact with more advanced civilizations.

Tribes in the Amazon don't change their way of life once they're contacted. They only do when the ever progressing deforestation of the Amazon forces them to adopt a Western lifestyle or disappear.

Native Americans didn't change their lifestyle once they had met Westerners. They adopted some technologies, that's all. If they had not been wiped out by Western germs, guns and the ever increasing appropriation of their land by early American settlers, they would not have changed much.

The Chinese and Japanese did not want to change their way of life, even after being contacted by Westerners. They only opened up and adopted Western technology after being attacked and having a gun put to their head by American and British warships.

People tend to want to stick to their beliefs and their culture even after being exposed to a different and supposedly superior civilization. At their level of development, a starship would be no different than magic to the Boraalans. It would probably have very little impact on their culture. And what's the value of a dead culture anyway? If all the Boraalans are dead, it's not like anything of value was saved.

IMO, they could have easily shut down the holodeck and told the truth to the Boraalans and there would probably not have been any great consequences. The Boaraalans would probably have been thankful and mildly shocked for a short while, but that's it. The escaped Boraalan could also have reintegrated the holodeck community and not told them about what he had seen. No need to commit suicide.

On another note, the rivalry between Worf and Nikolai seemed a bit fake. The episode does little to explore the complexity of the issue of what Nikolai did. He violated his oath and not only contacted the tribe he was supposed to study from his outpost, but also conceived a child with a native woman.

As for the first part (coming out of his outpost), I don't think it's a big deal. Anthropologists and linguists embed with native tribes all the time and they don't have a big effect on their culture. This is just Star Trek exaggerating the consequences of a Westerner coming into contact with a native tribe.

The second part (conceiving a child), is a bigger deal. I actually looked at ethical guidelines for real anthropologists issued by the American Anthropological Association (AAA). (www.psi.uba.ar/academica/carrerasdegrado/psicologia/sitios_catedras/obligatorias/723_etica2/material/normativas/committee_on_ethics_briefing_papers_aaa.pdf p. 14). Interestingly, they don't say not to have sex, but to be aware of various ethical pitfalls if you do so. I don't see why Nikolai couldn't have married the Boraalan woman and brought her back to live with him.

Interestingly, the AAA ethical guidelines also consider it okay for anthropologists to provide material assistance to natives, but they must take care not to influence their culture to much, or provoke conflict.

There's another issue that nobody has talked about so far in the comments. At the end of the episode, Worf asks Nikolai if he can take the Boraalan's chronicles and Nikolai just gives them to him. Worf is stealing the only record of their history and their most valuable cultural artifact without their consent. He's depriving them of their history. Western archeologists have been criticized because they have taken artifacts from long dead civilizations (e.g. parts of the Acropolis), and many nations have asked for the restitution of those artifacts. But here Worf is stealing from a living civilization and he's taking the only record of their history. This is just wrong. Nikolai smiles and laughs and says: "it's yours!". This is a colonial and racist attitude. The Boraalans are considered inferior non-people who don't have any property rights and their things can just be stolen from them.

Anyway, this is probably one of the most regressive and morally wrong episodes of Star Trek I have seen.

To answer Ross, they had an ethical obligation to help them. Sure, Starfleet can't possibly save everyone everywhere, but if they can save a species from extinction for essentially zero cost, they have an obligation to do so. The Federation are not Gods. They are not superior to these people and as fellow sentient beings, they have an obligation to help them. As I have explained, saving them would not have destroyed their culture. There was no morally ambiguous situation. These people would not have developed warp technology for probably millennia, if ever. And would the Federation be prepared to have "done unto them, as they have done to others"? I bet not. If Picard and his crew were trapped on a planet, they would not accept to die rather than be helped by a more advanced civilization. If humanity or the Federation's survival was at stake they would accept the help of the Q or of any more advanced species. By refusing to help the Boraalans, the Federation is being incredibly smug and arrogant and plain evil. "how could they live knowing they saved only a small group" Well, how could they live knowing that they had saved none? How could you live with yourself knowing that you could have saved thousands of people by just pressing a button and yet you did nothing?
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