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Jian Zhang
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 9:47am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S1: Detained

This story worths at most 2 stars, no more. It mentioned Internment of Japanese Americans, and also questioned the captain's actions in the end, that's why it worths 2 stars. All others are just junks.

First of all, who gives authorities for the Enterprise to break into other country's territory and even fire at their ships? Just because Enterprise is strong? Well, in that case, Klingon empire can send 100 bird-of-pray to earth and do anything they want. Earth has no power to defend, thus it is right. I know a phrase for that: might is right.

Second, why the Enterprise crews always think legislations in other countries are unjustice, uneven, and cruel? Because it gives them excuses to interfere with other legislations. So that they can do anything they want and go freely without being punished. It happens in Star Trek series many times.

Third, what the captain did really helping? I highly doubt that. He "freed" 89 persons, that's right. Then, where would they go? Moreover, there were thousands of persons in other concentrate camps, what kinds of "treatments" would they receive after this?

Stupid writers, stupid story.
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Ian Whitcombe
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 10:31pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

A few interesting Jammer Review stats:

The last chronological season finale that Jammer recommended was "The Expanse" from ENT season two.

Enterprise's "Damage" from 2004 is the most recent entry in the Star Trek canon to earn four stars.

Only season of Trek to have only one stand-out (3.5 stars or higher) entry. The two reviewed Andromeda seasons share that record.

This season of Discovery is tied with the first season of DS9 to have the lowest amount of losers in a single season: 2 two-star episodes and none below two-stars.
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Brian
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 12:55am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

Well, I've spent hours writing up reviews for this season the past couple months. This time, I'm just done. The writing sucks plain and simple. This is like watching a middle-school orchestra try to play a rachmaninoff concerto. Last time I checked middle school concerts were free. I would never pay a single dime to these people, probably one of the worst shows I've ever seen. The writing did not improve a single bit. Not even a glimmer of hope. The finale was trite, conveniently and simply ended in the most lazy possible way, and then we get a cliffhanger to desperately try to reel people back in for round 2. Not a chance in hell I will be paying anything for this junk. Oh I'll watch out of morbid curiosity and if it gets good, then great I'll come back on board. But this? This was just an epic failure and I place the blame squarely on poor production, show running, and writing. The season is a mess and the ending swept it all under the rug.
Ouch.
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Brian1
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 5:01am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The War Without, The War Within

I was wondering, does anyone watch After Trek? I have to say it’s kind of annoying. On a show that I found more worthy it might be pretty cool and interesting, like TNG OR DS9, but here... basically the writers and actors get together with a professional suck up for a host and have a big circle jerk about how “great” and “amazing” this show and its various plot lines are, how “intense” the drama is (yawn), etc. Its a bunch of self congratulatory sessions on a show that doesn’t deserve it. Anyone else notice this?
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Brian
Tue, Feb 6, 2018, 1:13am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The War Without, The War Within

I really wanted to like this episode more than I actually did. After first viewing, I was impressed with how the script felt much better than the last few, how they were finally listening to feedback and incorporating more character scenes, and showing more of the crew. The pacing was slowed, and the impact was overall positive. Lisa Randolph has an extensive resume of TV writing and it's obvious she has experience with pacing a show--something many of the STD writers have struggled with this season. The Discovery suddenly feels more "starship-like" than ever before, showing how far a few simple scenes with extras, or an exterior shot of the cargo/shuttle bay, can go towards creating a sense of place and atmosphere.

Which is partly why I was so unexpectedly disappointed this week. They made great quality of life improvements and up until the last 15 minutes the show had good momentum, so why did this episode of Discovery fall flat yet again for the umpteenth time? Once again, the show is sinking under its own weight, the weight coming in the form of baggage left over from the early part of the season. Baggage which would have been long forgotten if the show was not so thoroughly addicted to serialization. The Ash/Burnham sub-plot comes back from the dead, and after a pleasant hiatus during the MU arc, we are treated to a yet another dyad scene where Ash and Burnham tell us how they are feeling. The scene drags on forever. I don't blame Latif or Martin-Greene--they really tried their best with the script they were handed, but there were just too many words. They could have handled this scene--what should have been a real climax in their arc--with sensitivity and subtlety. What transpired in this scene could have been delivered in complete silence or with minimal words, in about 1-2 minutes. Hell, in the hands of extremely capable actors this scene could have been accomplished with Ash and Burnham passing each other in the hall with just a look and a response. Instead we got what has unfortunately become par for the series--bloated scenes that fail to deliver. This one came off like a checkbox despite their valiant attempt to sell it.

Second reason--the acting. One can't help but notice, a vast majority of these failed scenes feature SMG in some way. There is just something not right about how she is playing her character and it's enough to make one doubt her abilities as an actress. It's difficult to tell as a viewer what the true problem is, as they've handed her a fairly difficult task in trying to play a vulcan human hybrid. I can say that Tim Russ came across as more comfortable in his role during the pilot episode of Voyager, than SMG does by nearly the end of season 1, and that is a big problem for the show. My inner "cynic" imagines a casting where she was picked not for her acting abilities, but because she was black and female. Now I realize that isn't politically correct of me to say, but her lackluster performance sort of forces me to go there. Beyond SMG, there is variable talent, but it's pretty hard to tell who's good when only a few characters ever get to be in the story. Cornwell (Jayne Brook) delivers her lines in the most awkward way, she really seems uncomfortable on the set also. Latif does an adequate job and gets stars for effort. I think if he got better scripts he could do really well. Probably the only cast member who has been consistently excellent is Michelle Yeoh. Compared this cast to TNG and it's just no comparison--Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner. These guys carried the show through the first season of horrible scripts and if it was not for the excellent cast I'm fairly certain the show would have tanked.

The third item dragging this show into the ground is the spore drive. And it's not even that I have an issue with the science or lack-there-of. It's not a bad idea and I do find it interesting. What I take issue with is how it is used in the show, or should I say over-used. Someone else alluded to this in their review--it's used essentially as a magic wand to take the Discovery anywhere, anytime, and do anything. Sure, it can get you stuck in the Mirror Universe, or maybe kill Stamets. But somehow, the writers always seem to find a way out and suddenly the spore drive is a good idea again. It's like a wild card or a magic box that anything can pop out of at any time---risky yet somehow always ends up being essential to drive the story forward. This time, used to initiate an extremely silly side-plot involving the propagation of a new crop of spores on a random moon. Every time it comes up it's like "Ahh, the spore drive--what insane development in the plot will it enable next?" It's one of those things that would have made a great standalone episode in TNG, or even a two-parter, then everyone realizes it isn't safe or sustainable and the technology is shelved, but then next season it's pulled out again for a reunion, and so on. Something that comes up like once or twice a season, sort of like Q. And in essence, that's what the spore drive is. It's a Q. Q was fun in TNG because nobody controlled him. And that's why the spore-drive isn't much fun. Discovery has too much control over it. Way too much control to be believable or immersive. For example, it would be far more entertaining if the mycelial network contained entities that you had to negotiate with in order to use the network, ala the wormhole in DS9. That's not to say DS9 didn't mine the wormhole for all it was worth in terms of plot development. They sure did. But I liked how very early in the show, they did set up some lore to explain it, spent a few episodes very deep in that lore actually, and came out the other side with a plot device that was far more realistic and immersive. And it was limited, it went from one place to another and that was it, which ended up making DS9 feel very significant because of that limitation.

So, for me 2 stars. I appreciate the slower pacing, lack of meaningless action scenes in this one, but the episode inevitably had to carry the series baggage forward. They waited until the last 10 minutes to do it, but it eventually came and it continues to weigh quite a bit. The absolute best thing they could do for the next episode is drop some of it.
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Ian
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 10:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S3: The Search, Part I

The Search, Parts I and II are good episodes but there are a few things that nag me:

1) What happened to Subcommander T'Rul? She was supposed to protect the cloaking device on loan to Starfleet but we never see again after these episodes. It would have been interesting to have a regular Romulan character on DS9.

2) Dr. Bashir is on the bridge during the battle with the Jem'Hadar and he knows how to operate the weapons system on the Defiant? Does this strike anyone as unusual? Defiant is a prototype vessel how many people in Starfleet are trained to operate it in the first place?

3) The Jem'Hadar board and capture the Defiant and then give it back to Sisko and his crew. Was the Dominion feeling generous on this day? They had no interest in getting a first hand look at Federation technology and a Romulan cloaking device?
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Ian
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 5:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Into the Fold

I'm surprised by the low rating by Jammer on this episode. I enjoyed it. The ongoing challenge for The Orville is find that right balance between humor and drama. I don't envy the writers of this series because its tough enough to focus on just one or the other. But I think they do a really good here in ""Into the Fold". Issac has some really humorous lines and he's learning about humans here. I really like Dr. Finn's storyline because we do see first hand that she'll do what is necessary to survive for her children. She'll kill to do it and that's something I'm not sure that Dr. Cusher would have done for Wesley.

The Orville is the closest thing to Star Trek we have now and I'm looking forward to season two.
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Ian
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 5:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Doomsday Machine

I'm glad to see this episode get four stars. It's a rare treat to see another starship, in this case, the USS Constellation which is found adrift and abandoned except for Commodore Decker (a memorable performance by William Windom) after encountering planet-killer machine of unknown origin. The episode manages to touch on some Cold War themes (in this case nuclear weapons) in a subtle manner that doesn't alienate viewers or get in the way of telling a good story.
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Ian
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 6:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Captive Pursuit

@Rahul

You raise some good points. How is DS9/Starfleet compensated for the work done on the ship Tosk arrived? Chief O'Brien has various duties to perform on the station and repairing any damage ship that arrives his time away from those duties.

I generally like "Captive Pursuit" and I remember this being first DS9 episode that came alive for me when the series first aired. We finally had someone come in from the wormhole. The premise of the series was that the action and mystery would come to the station and here it finally did.

I also thought Tosk was likeable enough. Simple maybe but he was something different and O'Brien sensed no ill-well from him and that he was in trouble.
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Ian
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 6:07pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Best of Both Worlds, Part II

I'm kind of surprised that "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II" is also given four stars as with Part I.

This is not a bad episode but there a few things that undermine it. Most specifically, the miraculous recovery of Picard at the end. He's back in his ready room, back on duty with only a Band-Aid on his head. It was that simple to undo what was done to him? Really?

The captain of Starfleet's flagship was captured and assimilated by a malevolent, hostile foe and was used to help destroy a Federation fleet and kill thousands of people. I'm sorry but in reality Picard would back on Earth for an extended period of time by order of Starfleet. He would be thoroughly examined and debriefed. Starfleet would be justified in not trusting him to command a Starship or having any security clearance. The first few episodes of season four should have focused around this while Riker continued to command the Enterprise. It also would have been a great opportunity to see more of Commander Shelby. It's a shame we never saw the return of her character.
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Ian
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 2:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: The Siege of AR-558

The Siege of AR-558 is definitely one of best episodes of DS9.

It's also a necessary episode in context of the Dominion War because it would have been a real oversight not to have an episode that focused on the troops on the ground doing the fighting. The war wasn't just limited ships firing at each in space.

It was nice to see some characters like Reese who really look like soldiers and could fight. A common fault seen in TNG and DS9 was many of the Starfleet personnel in security or in combat roles don't look intimidating or capable of fighting.

Nog really grew as a character as a character here and in following episodes. He does earn the respect of his comrades. When he gets shot he lets out this high-pitch scream which is effectively chilling and doesn't sound human.

The music here is first rate. Its subtle but hits the right emotional chords.

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Brian
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 12:04pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: What's Past Is Prologue

Joseph B said:
"@Jammer:
Nice review!
I enjoyed this episode much more than you did, but I can certainly appreciate the concerns you outlined. (And I was also hoping that they had overshot by 150 years!)
From my perspective, this was a 4 Star (OMG!) episode based on the fact that
* I was highly entertained, and
* It felt like “Star Trek” to me (albeit with tproduction values not seen in any prior Trek TV series.)
I was very skeptical that CBS could pull off a modern serialized Star Trek series, but I’m fully on board now. I’ve even gotten use to the viewing it on CBS All-Access — which has provided a consistently quality viewing experience since the series came back from hiatus.
Live Long and Prosper!"

This sounds like a pay-for-positive to me. Anybody else?
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Brian
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 1:04pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: What's Past Is Prologue

The climax of this episode was supposed to be as we realized the fate of all sentient beings was uncertain, that everything might cease to exist. Except the way it actually played out, was it seemed like a cursory plot twist thrown in to make it sound epic, but lacking any emotional or intellectual impact. This was supposed to be the pinnacle moment of the episode, and it fell...completely...flat. And that, in a nut shell is what's wrong with STD. Lazy writing that reaches only for the most obvious, only the most cliche at all times.

If Star Trek TNG was a robber needing money and you it's victim, he would approach you calmly on the street, explain that he needed money for drugs, he didn't like robbing people but he really had to, and he needs $40 that's all, if you just give it to him he'll go on his way. You hand him the $40. TNG was successful.

Star Trek Discovery is an insane person who rolls up to you on the street in a tank, demands you transfer your entire net worth into his account, or else he will fire the tanks main cannon at your head. You ask, "Are you joking?" and run away. Since the tank cannon is his only weapon, your swiftness on foot saves you. You keep all your money and STD fails.
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Brian
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 11:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: What's Past Is Prologue

On the subject of criticizing other reviewers--
I will freely admit it--I disliked almost every episode in the series so far except "Magic to make the Sanest..." and my reviews reflect that. I will also admit that I have been extremely critical of the show, perhaps overly critical. But to come on here and denigrate my thoughts and feelings (and those of many others), essentially, calling us whiners who won't want the show to succeed, you reveal yourself to be fundamentally mistaken. You see, the most vocal critics are the biggest Trek fans. We want Star Trek to succeed. I want Star Trek to succeed. As many have already succinctly pointed out, there was much valid criticism levied against TNG season 1, and it changed. It not only got better, it turned into one of the best runs of story-telling in the history of television. So, to you self-titled defenders of STD, I call you out. I say, your emotions are driving you. Yes you want this show to succeed. I know that. So why not welcome criticism? Why not let it make the show better? That's why we are all here isn't it? The fanboys and the critics all with their foot in the ring. We're all watching the same show are we not. I don't need to defend my views or my criticisms of the show. I come here each week and post my honest thoughts about the show. I would hope you continue to do the same. Please refrain from writing reviews on other posters. No matter how vitriolic a review sounds, I guarantee I can find you one that sounds like it was a pay-for-positive. In fact, sometimes in the swirling emotions of a new season of Trek, people can get so lost in hope and nostalgia that the critical review is drowned out and buried beneath three hundred pages of speculation on the next big plot twist. We get dragged along by the current until someone swims to shore, gets out and looks at what is actually going on. And what's actually going on is this:

STD has fallen flat for multiple, valid reasons as have been extensively documented here on Jammers. As it stands the story line is strung out and only supported by periodic plot twists and reveals. The scripting is poor by any definition. The writers have struggled to produce interesting characters or stories. And because of that, the larger story arc just fails to have any emotional impact. I think tonight as I was watching, there was a moment where, according to the show, the life of every sentient being in the universe hung on a wire. I did not care, because the show never gave me a reason to. That's STDs major failing--shooting for big, huge, far-out ideas but lacking the story-telling chops, or patience to take us there. They are trying on daddies shoes but it's obvious, they don't fit. And so from my perspective, as a lay person not involved in TV production, the only assumption I can make is that the writers and producers are just flat out inexperienced young people who aren't as good at writing television as other people I've observed write and produce good television. If that hypothesis proves to be wrong, I'll be the first one to celebrate and admit I was wrong.



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Brian
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 12:09am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Doomsday Machine

I don't understand the positive comments. This episode was pretty bad. The plot went virtually nowhere. Some scenes were painfully drawn out. I was just bored for most of it.
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Ian
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 11:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Darmok

Darmok is a 4 star episode. TNG at its best.
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Ian
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 11:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Peak Performance

Did I miss something? Why does Starfleet just leave on their ships floating around in space unattended or unmonitored? I know the Hathaway is declared as being a derelict but it didn't take much effort for Geordi to get the lights on and ship moving again. It's still a functional ship. Anybody (the Ferengi or even the stupid Pakleds) could have taken the ship or at least stripped it down for parts.
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Ian
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 11:24pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Samaritan Snare

Worf proves to be much more sensible than Riker in this episode. He is absolutely correct in pointing that they know little or nothing about the Pakleds. He asks a very sensible question: Why do they have to send their Chief Engineer over to their ship? Doesn't Geordi have an engineering team? I know Geordi volunteers but any technician probably could have done the job.

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Ian
Sat, Jan 27, 2018, 12:22am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

I still want to know what happens to Garek after this. He was such an interesting character. When DS9 ended I had hoped for a while that the next Star Series would have Garek as a main character and would examine his role in the rebuilding of the Cardassian Union.
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Ian
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 11:24pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: Arena

One and half stars? Really?

This episode is a classic.
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Ian
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 11:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Justice

It was around this time in 1987 when I thought TNG was going to be a one season series.
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Brian
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 12:52am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

The scripting and acting continues to be horrible. Mumbling dialogue, long expository sentences, it just gets worse as time goes by. Sonequa Martin Green looks great in a night gown but she is not a good lead. The plot is going nowhere fast. I don't care about any of the main characters. At this point I literally spent most of the episode hoping characters would die or be killed, so we could get them off the screen and make way for some good actors to be brought in to replace them.

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.

Yes, we now have a whole generation of Trek fans reduced to fighting over table scraps.
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Ian
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 10:22pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Basics, Part II

"And the damage to the ship after all this? A non-factor (despite the fact that the overload practically made the Voyager look like it was on fire). Once the crew retakes Voyager, the ship, of course, looks practically like new"


One of the big complaints I have about this series is that Voyager never shows any wear or tear despite the fact it so far away from any Federation drydock or outpost. Every season Voyager is attacked some hostile alien species and yet by the end of the series it still looks the way it did in the pilot episode.

Contrast that with Battlestar Galactica which had a far more realistic depiction of a ship and crew far from home.
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Ian
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 8:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Where Silence Has Lease

I think this is one of the better episodes of season two that shows the maturing of TNG from the first season. But there are some growing pains which prevent it from being a really good episode. Such as:

-The opening sequence with Riker and Worf in the holodeck which seems to have little or no connection to the main plot
-The obvious "red shirt" killing of Haskell.
-Is Worf really prepared to be a Starfleet officer? Riker has to order him to snap back from his primal instincts on the holodeck and later he nearly loses his nerve again on the "USS Yamato"....one bridge!
-Would have been nice if Picard had said something at the end of the episode about warning Starfleet about this "hole" they encountered.


Highlights:

-Some creepy moments on the "USS Yamato"
-Data saying, "The beginning of wisdom is: I do not know."
-Picard musings on what is death
-Some good music from . Ron Jones
-I like how they don't try to explain everything at the end. It's a mystery.




convince Nagilum
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Brian
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 12:49am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Despite Yourself

Frakes saved this one but the scripting is still amateurish. The storyline continues to be convoluted. Most people here are caught up in the drama trying to guess what comes next. I personally could not care less because I don't care about the characters, and the reason is, they exist only as props to move along the pre-determined plot. Essentially every character is a plot device, especially burnham and tyler. The characters that I'm supposed to care the most about, I care the least about. If we are to care about the main characters, we must see them living their daily lives, going through the motions, encountering every day situations. But the series is so focused on serialization that we totally miss it. But it's not even doing serialization correctly. BSG built great tension in the first season with its use of the second storyline down planetside--you essentially had two parallel serial arcs that you knew would eventually clash and produce good stories.

So, why should I care which universe they are in? Does it even matter?
For me not at all. I have no sense of place for the Enterprise or her crew at this point. I don't know where they are and I don't care that much.

By this time in TNG we were getting into things like Q ("Hide and Q"), meeting Lwaxana Troi for the first time, a fun early holodeck episode "The Big Goodbye", and then of course "Datalore" with the crystalline entity.

Were these incredible episodes? Of course not, but the point is, midway through season 1 the writers were stepping out and establishing big characters and concepts.

With Discovery, we have some story arcs that really went nowhere, and now an abrupt switch into the mirror universe that feels like a big reset button. Now, don't get me wrong, I think the mirror universe is fun. But I think you do things like that once you have the basics down, once you have established the universe a bit more. We don't have any big characters. There was one semi-successful guest star who played Mudd and that was my favorite episode of the first season.

I think the entire show is totally weighed down by its prequel status and I can almost feel the constrictions in place on what they can do. Maybe that's why we are in the mirror universe already. The more I watch the more I'm sure it was a mistake to do another prequel. They should've just gone forward with the series, something totally new. And I know a lot of people are with me on this. It doesn't mean we can't have some fun in the past, but it's the past and we can all feel it. The actors can feel it too. That means it's even MORE important to focus on the basics, the characters, their lives, their relationships. The universe needs to be FLESHED OUT more, we need some stories about crew members on the enterprise, we need to see different areas of the ship, get a few more standalone episodes. These arcs are just....falling flat. I can't think of any other way to put it.




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